MOODY GARDENS REVEALS NEW TREASURES IN AQUARIUM PYRAMID WITH $37 MILLION RENOVATION

Hidden behind the doors of Moody Gardens’ Aquarium Pyramid awaits an awe-inspiring underwater experience that includes a new Humboldt Penguin Habitat, a Mangrove Lagoon touch tank that is home to stingrays and sharks and a multi-level 30,000 gallon Oil Rig Tank.

But, these new treasures won’t remain hidden for much longer. Moody Gardens will host a Grand Reveal May 27, 2017, giving guests their first glimpse into the completed multi-phased $37 million renovation project at the Aquarium Pyramid.

Guests will journey to new depths this summer, exploring the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, South Pacific, North Pacific and the Caribbean. Each ocean exhibit highlights different marine sanctuaries and relationship aspects to the seas with conservation messages that underscore the vital importance of the oceans.

Meet the new Humboldt penguins
Moody Gardens is thrilled to introduce these unique warm-climate penguins that hail from Southern Hemisphere waters from the Antarctic Pole to the Equator. This is the second penguin exhibit at Moody Gardens and the Humboldts are right next door to the South Atlantic Penguin Habitat, home to the King, Gentoo, Chinstrap, Rockhopper and Macaroni penguins. As part of the recent renovations, the South Atlantic Penguin Habitat is newly enhanced to better benefit guests and the health and livelihood of the penguins within.

Gulf of Mexico Rig Exhibit
See the balance of technology and nature through this impressive 30,000 gallon, two-story, 23-foot scale model oil production platform aquarium. These manmade islands provide valuable attachment surfaces for a variety of encrusting organisms to create an entire reef ecosystem found throughout the Gulf of Mexico. This new exhibit includes diver communication for presentations and interaction, further engaging guests in their underwater experience.

The Caribbean
Journeys to the Caribbean begin with the new Mangrove Lagoon. Touch Cownose Stingrays and Bonnethead Sharks as they swim lazily around the jungle of stilt roots that most of the region’s fish call home. Naturalists are on hand to help guests learn more about these important ecosystems. A second touch tank features small fish, Sea Stars, Hermit Crabs, Pencil Urchins and other invertebrates allowing guests to cross the water/air border.

Moody Gardens is highlighting a hidden gem from the Gulf of Mexico. The new Flower Garden Banks Exhibit brings attention to the unique tropical coral reef system found just 115 miles offshore.

With help from the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, guests experience the East Flower Garden Bank, West Flower Garden Bank and Stetson Bank up close and personal. The exhibit includes examples of Brain, Star and Elkhorn coral, to name a few, all of which can be seen on the banks. The Flower Garden Banks reef system is one of the healthiest in the Gulf and Caribbean regions.

Guests are completely immersed in the Caribbean Exhibit with breathtaking views as Sharks, Rays and other tropical fish swim overhead while they walk through the tunnel in this one million-gallon exhibit, giving them the sense of diving in the Caribbean.

New to the exhibit is The Pride, a 19th century rum-runner shipwreck replica, loosely based on the vessel sailed by famed Galveston pirate Jean Lafitte. Divers spent a total of 68.5 hours underwater putting together the ship, which arrived in about 75 individual pieces.

Also new are in-water presentations by Moody Gardens divers. With additions to the exhibit, guests are bound to have questions. Divers are now able to take and answers questions while in the exhibit.

North Pacific Gallery
This exhibit focuses on the high-energy coastline to the west. Seals and Sea Lions are featured prominently alongside other kelp forest inhabitants including Leopard Sharks and the long-lived Rockfish. Jewel aquariums highlight the coastal surge zone, ingenious Giant Pacific Octopus and the relatively unknown deep water coral communities that act as nursery habitat for many commercial fisheries.

And, that’s not all
Don’t miss out on the whimsical and colorful array of soft-bodied predators inside the new Jellyfish Gallery. Lights, sounds and textures further enhance the display of these free swimming coral relatives.

There’s also the South Pacific Biome that showcases the tremendous diversity that is found in the epicenter of the coral reef evolution. Colorful corals, invertebrates, fishes and sharks fill the niche habitats highlighted in the large and small aquarium features.

Guests are able to engage with aquarium staff as they perform essential functions in the working conservation lab. Watch and ask questions as they work in the nursery, perform aquarium water quality tests, necropsies, grow algae as a food source and other functions in their daily lab work.

New exhibits will not only inspire visitor interest and empathy, but also connect visitors to specific ocean habitats, further establishing the Moody Gardens Aquarium Pyramid as the largest and most diverse aquarium in the southwest.

DoubleTree by Hilton Opens in Times Square West

DoubleTree by Hilton, announced the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York Times Square West, located in the heart of bustling Manhattan.
The newly-built high-rise hotel is just steps from the Broadway theater district, The Jacob Javits Convention Center, dozens of shops and restaurants, the Empire State Building and many other New York attractions. The 37-story property features 612 modern rooms, each with Theater District-inspired artwork and many offering stunning views of the city or the Hudson River.

“Times Square is the heartbeat of New York City, offering travelers a convenient respite between their business meetings and a thrilling destination to enjoy the theater district, shopping and diverse cuisine options,” said Dianna Vaughan, senior vice president and global head, DoubleTree by Hilton. “We’re delighted to now open this amazing Times Square location, welcoming guests with our signature, warm DoubleTree Cookie and delivering award-winning service throughout their stay.”

Breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline are on the menu at Lovage Rooftop & Indoor Lounge, which offers unique cocktails, light fare and nightly live music until 2 a.m. Delectable dining – for breakfast, lunch and dinner – is available at Magnolia Restaurant, an American Bistro with menu items curated by Executive Chef Brian Pancir, a longtime chef for the New York Yankees and New York Giants. A rarity for a Manhattan hotel, outdoor seating is also available on the patio in front of and behind the hotel.

Beginning with the brand’s warm DoubleTree Cookie welcome, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York Times Square West provides guests with stylish décor and thoughtful amenities to make them feel at home. Each guest room features DoubleTree Sweet Dreams® Sleep Experience beds, a work desk with WiFi access and an adjustable desk chair, coffeemaker and a large window that opens. Guests may also order room service; or pick up snacks, sandwiches, salads, beer and wine in the convenient onsite 24-hour Made Market Pantry.

Business meetings and events accommodating up to 75 guests may be held in the hotel’s 1,000 square feet of meeting and banquet facilities. A state-of-the-art sound system and A/V equipment are also available, as is a fully-equipped 24-hour business center.

The hotel also provides a full complement of services and DoubleTree by Hilton brand amenities, including an assortment of gourmet in-room tea and coffee offerings by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®, and a refreshing array of the Crabtree & Evelyn natural skin and body care line.

“This beautiful new hotel blends the finest, modern features with the caring service and thoughtful touches that will make their stay in New York great,” said Richard Hotter, general manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York Times Square West. “Our entire staff is excited to welcome our guests with the simple acts of kindness DoubleTree by Hilton is known for worldwide.”

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York Times Square West is part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 14 distinct hotel brands. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels save time and money and gain instant access to the benefits they care about most, such as an exclusive member discount, free Wi-Fi and a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay. Members can also redeem their Points for free nights, to gain access to unique events through the Hilton Honors auction platform.

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel New York Times Square West is located at 350 West 40th Street, New York, New York 10018.
For more information, or to make a reservation, travelers may visit www.newyorktimessquarewest.doubletreebyhilton.com or call 845 732 6466. The property is owned by McSam Hotel Group and managed by Crescent Hotel & Resorts.

Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel Completes $10 Million Renovation

The Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel & Executive Meeting Center, a leading hotel managed by Hersha Hospitality Management, announces completion of an expansive 10 million dollar transformation.  Led by the internationally-recognized hospitality design firm, Puccini Group, these transformational enhancements include; all 405 guestrooms, lobby and outdoor pool as well as the entryway of the property. 

“We believe that this fresh new look will elevate the guest experience at every touch point of our hotel, far above and beyond the convenience of being the closest hotel to the airport and a number of Miami’s most popular attractions,” says Dan McDermott, General Manager of the property.  “This thoughtful and seamless redesign caters to the needs and necessities that are important to the diverse group of travelers we welcome each day at our hotel and Executive Meeting Center.”

The hotel’s transformation blends a modern tropical resort-like experience with the signature Sheraton comfort and convenience that guests have come to find synonymous with the brand. Perfectly located at the gateway of Miami, the 405-room hotel is the closest hotel to Miami Airport, which serves as the largest gateway for Latin America and the Caribbean.  The hotel has direct pedestrian access to both the airport and the Miami Intermodal Center (MIC), which provides direct connections to South Beach and Brickell.  This exciting renovation highlights the property’s sophisticated design, award-winning service, and world-class amenities setting the stage for a unique and memorable hospitality experience that does not just meet but exceeds expectations for business and leisure travelers, alike.

The arrival experience at the hotel begins with a refreshed entryway and porte corche leading into a chic redesigned lobby.  The space is brought to life through the incorporation of striking geometric shapes, colorful aft work and lush greenery.  Plush, contemporary lounge seating is sprinkled throughout, partly screened by partial link walls creating a space that can be both social and semi private in nature. A striking overhead lighting feature opens up the space by drawing attention upward and complementing the vertically integrated greenery.

Stepping outside the rear of the lobby into the outdoor pool area, guests will be immersed in a resort-like experience.  Adjacent to the Miami River and Melreese Golf Course, the hotel’s pool has been transformed into a tropical paradise with indigenous plants, luxurious fabrics and a range of statement seating options.   A unique white sandy beach installation allows guests the opportunity to get a taste of the quintessential south Florida beach experience as they swim, sun and dip their toes in the sand with a cocktail in hand.  Adjacent to this poolside paradise, guests can dine al fresco on the patio of the Rickenbacker, the hotel’s flagship restaurant that serves up a comprehensive menu of creative cocktails and seasonally artisanal cuisine.  Additional indoor dining options include MbarK, where vintage chic meets contemporary design and cocktails can be enjoyed over bistro-style fare. 

Each spacious guestroom has been transformed into a welcoming oasis through modern, clean, and relaxing design elements.  A primarily neutral palette is paired with eclectic furniture pieces and patterns in the form of a custom textile headboard and carefully placed touches of color that add personality and infuse a sense of space that is authentic to Miami.  Each room also features updated bathrooms and signature Sheraton sleep experience alongside additional amenities to the likes of; 37″ flat-screen TV’s, high speed internet, oversized work desk with a Herman Miller ergonomic chair and conveniently placed electrical outlets.  A number of guestrooms also boast sweeping views of Miami.

These transformational property enhancements also include 17,000 square feet of recently renovated, custom-built event space that can cater to groups of 30 to 300 and is conveniently located on a single floor.  As the only International Association of Conference Centers certified hotel in South Florida, meeting planners and business travelers can rest assured in the hands of the hotel’s dedicated IACC-trained staff, including an Executive Meeting Center Concierge.  Additional perks include a 24-hour Club Lounge, fitness center, preferred rates at the renowned Melreese Golf course and complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle.  

NYC SKYLINE TO BE LIT BLUE IN CELEBRATION OF GLOBAL MEETINGS INDUSTRY DAY

NYC & Company, New York City’s official destination marketing organization, is proud to support the Meetings Mean Business Coalition during its second annual Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) on Thursday, April 6. Tomorrow evening in advance of GMID, several spires across the City’s skyline will shine blue, the color of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, to send a message about the importance of the meetings industry to New York City. In addition, NYC & Company will host a special NYC Talks panel discussion with its membership on Global Meetings Industry Day.

“NYC & Company recognizes the profound impact that face-to-face meetings have on New York City’s five boroughs every year,” said Fred Dixon, NYC & Company’s president and CEO. “With safety a new top priority for planners, we are looking forward to our GMID panel discussion on meeting and event security, reassuring planners and businesses that New York City remains the country’s safest large city to host a meeting or event.”

Tomorrow, NYC & Company will kick off lighting activations on the eve of Global Meetings Industry Day. The spires of the Empire State Building, Four Times Square and One Bryant Park in Midtown Manhattan will be lit blue, along with One World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. This Thursday for Global Meetings Industry Day, NYC & Company will convene its membership for a NYC Talks: Improving Security, Ensuring Success panel at Manhattan Center. In partnership with event security firm T&M Protection Resources, the panel discussion will focus on security strategies and best practices for public and private meetings and events of all sizes.
 
“New York City continues to lead the way in new development that amplifies the delegate experience, from the 1.2 million square-foot Javits Center expansion to an additional 25,000 hotel rooms expected by 2019,” said Jerry Cito, NYC & Company’s Senior Vice President of Convention Development. “As a founding industry supporter of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, we thank the more than 6 million delegates that choose to Make It NYC each year.”

Additionally, Vornado Realty Trust’s Times Square billboard, the largest digital billboard in the City located on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets outside the New York Marriott Marquis, will display NYC & Company’s Make It NYC meetings campaign and GMID logos on Thursday. NYC & Company has also provided a social media toolkit to its member base and clients to join the conversation about the meetings industry. To follow and join the conversation about the importance of face-to-face meetings, supporters can use the hashtags #MMBNYC, #GMID17 and #MakeItNYC on Twitter and Instagram.
For more information on planning a meeting or event in New York City, go to nycgo.com/makeitnyc. To learn more about Meetings Mean Business, visitmeetingsmeanbusiness.com.\

Source: NYC & Company

Latino Food Trade Show is On!

The Latino Food Trade Show, branded as the World of the Latino Cuisine, will present its 4th edition with a dynamic program on its exhibit floor, culinary demonstrations by celebrity chefs, informative workshops/educational sessions, and great tastings during the Latin Food and Wine Festival on the evening of August 23rd.

This food and beverage show, annually held at the Meadowlands Expo Center, New Jersey/New York Metro Area, features the participation of the largest food and beverage distributors active in the Latino market in the United States, mainstream marketers, domestic producers, and international exhibitors from the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Peru, Dominican Republic, Panama, Spain, and other countries.

It also includes the participation of domestic and foreign buyers.

“The Latino market continues to grow. It has a purchasing power of well over $1.5 trillion dollars,’ explained Bill Colón, lead officer of the World of the Latino Cuisine organization. “Our food and beverage expenditures are close to $180 billion dollars and growing, so it behooves all savvy marketers to participate in the show and take full advantage of their exposure,” added Mr. Colón.

This year the event will also feature the 2nd Annual Latin Food & Wine Festival, as part of the trade show.
The festival will be held after 5:00 p.m. at the same location, on Wednesday, August 23rd, and will include networking, food tastings of all the various Latino cuisines, wine and spirits, and cultural presentations. This section of the show is open to the general public.

This is the largest B2B show for the Latino market anywhere in the U.S. Hundreds of exhibitors and thousands in attendance. It is the only authentic and largest show of this nature in the United States.

If you would like to exhibit, contact Angie Viviel at 973-273-0273.

SOURCE Latino Food Trade Show

Virgin Hotels plans New Orleans Hotel

Virgin Hotels, the lifestyle hotel brand by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, has announced plans to open and operate a new hotel in the Warehouse District of New Orleans. Expected to break ground in April 2017 and open its doors in early 2019, Virgin Hotels New Orleans will be developed by Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital.

Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels, commented, “New Orleans is an incredibly special city and one Virgin Hotels has had an eye on from the beginning. The history, the food, the music, the spirit – they all work together to make it a one-of-a-kind destination for both business and leisure travelers. We’re excited to bring the Virgin experience to the Big Easy because it’s a perfect fit in terms of our values and our emphasis on creating unique and immersive experiences for our guests.”

Virgin Hotels New Orleans is situated in the city’s Warehouse District at 550 Baronne Street. The up-and-coming area sits directly next to the Central Business District and is home to a growing number of new restaurants, galleries and shops. The new-build hotel will feature 225 chambers, the brand’s flagship space, The Commons Club, a rooftop pool and lounge, gym, and dedicated meeting and event spaces.

Gatehouse Capital has chosen RTKL Architects, Mathes Brierre Architects, and Broadmoor Construction to complete the hotel. Virgin Hotels’ Vice President of Design Teddy Mayer has also tapped a local design firm to bring an authentic New Orleans flair to the project.

“Gatehouse Capital, whom we are currently working with to develop our Virgin Hotels Dallas property, is an outstanding example of a partner that understands the Virgin vision and can help bring it to life,” said Leal.
Adds Marty Collins, CEO of Gatehouse Capital: “This is the second Virgin Hotel development within our lifestyle platform; and we hope to announce others in the very near future. We look forward to being an even more significant part of Virgin Hotel’s brand expansion.”

Virgin Hotels Chicago is now open and accepting reservations at virginhotels.com, with Nashville, Dallas, Palm Springs, New York, Silicon Valley and others to follow. Virgin Hotels continues to explore hotel and office conversions as well as ground-up development in cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, Austin, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington DC, and London.

About Virgin Hotels:
Virgin Hotels is a lifestyle hospitality brand that combines heartfelt service, straightforward value and a seamless, personalized hotel experience with the track record of innovation and smart disruption that Sir Richard Branson’s global Virgin Group has pioneered for over 40 years. Each property will intermix a passion for food and beverage with music and culture, fusing with the local landscape and providing a vibrant and inclusive environment for travelers and locals alike. For more information, please visit www.virginhotels.com.

About Gatehouse Capital:
Founded in 1997, Gatehouse Capital is a national real estate investment and development firm that has launched major mixed-use lifestyle developments such as the W Hollywood Hotel and Residences, W Dallas Victory Hotel and Residences, as well as hotels among the Hilton, Marriott and Starwood brands totaling more than $1 billion in development. Gatehouse Capital has a reputation for elevating brands and creating hospitality projects that resonate with their guests and their communities. By partnering with industry leaders and visionaries, Gatehouse continually validates its core mission: to deliver extraordinary projects in every sense, beginning with economic return. More information is available at gatehousecapital.com.

Four Seasons Looks Ahead to 2017 and Beyond

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world’s leading luxury hospitality company, is strengthening its presence in the luxury hotel and residential space, and building on its position as the business partner of choice for luxury hotel, resort and residential projects.

With a pipeline of more than 50 projects at various stages of planning and development, the company continues to extend its global portfolio in destinations of importance to luxury travellers.

“Our aspiration is not to be the biggest; it’s to be the best,” says J. Allen Smith, President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “We are singularly focused on serving the luxury consumer. Against the current backdrop of industry consolidation and commoditisation, there is tremendous opportunity to extend Four Seasons leadership in the pure luxury space.”

“But market dynamics alone do not guarantee success,” continues Smith. “Our ability to capitalise on these opportunities is directly related to the strength of our leadership team, and the ability of our people – the most passionate and talented in the industry – to deliver an unparalleled level of personalised service.”
This commitment to service excellence extends beyond the company’s service of its guests, continues Smith. “Extending the custom character of everything we do to help property owners realise the full value of their investment and relationship with Four Seasons is a top priority for us.”

Business Partner of Choice
One way the company is actioning this priority is through the appointment of Michael (Mike) Crawford to the newly created role of President, Portfolio Management and Owner Relations. Crawford, who joined Four Seasons in 2014 as President, Asia Pacific, moved into his new position in late 2016.

With global responsibility for design, construction and procurement, Crawford coordinates the intricate process of bringing development projects to fruition, including new builds, strategic conversions and adaptive reuses of historic buildings, working cross-functionally across the organisation and in collaboration with the company’s individual hotel owners. Crawford is also responsible for leveraging the company’s well-established leadership and expertise in branded residential – a key area of growth that includes more than 4,000 residential units in 17 countries around the world.

“Long-term partnerships with hotel owners are at the core of our business model, and just as each Four Seasons property is unique, so too is each individual hotel owner,” says Crawford. “Having a clear eye on the unique vision and objectives of each hotel owner and applying the same level of customisation to these relationships as we do with our guests continues to be a key competitive advantage for Four Seasons.”

Further articulating what it means to be a leader in this regard, Crawford says, “Building strong relationships with hotel owners is fundamentally grounded in trust, the same trust that our guests place in us to deliver the highest standards of product quality, design and service. I look forward to continuing to build on the strong relationships we have with our hotel owners, offering even greater attention and customisation, and putting dedicated resources in place to prioritise this effort.”

Targeted Growth: 2017 and beyond
Today Four Seasons opened its 9th hotel in China in Tianjin, and will extend its presence in several key markets in 2017 with the addition of second hotels in both London (Ten Trinity Square) and the Seychelles (Desroches Island), as well as adding a fourth property in Florida (Surfside). The company also plans to open hotels in new destinations including Kuwait, Megève, and Tunis later this year.

Four Seasons has previously announced plans for hotels, resorts and residences in: Montreal, Los Cabos, Bangkok, Madrid, Philadelphia, São Paulo, Bengaluru, and Kuala Lumpur, as well as second properties in both Boston and Tokyo.

These developments build on 2016’s momentum, when Four Seasons added nine properties to its global portfolio: Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre, Four Seasons Hotel Bogotá, Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, Four Seasons Resort O’ahu at Ko Olina, Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, Four Seasons Resort Anguilla, and Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam. Four Seasons also introduced the first private island experience in the company’s portfolio – Four Seasons Private Island Maldives at Voavah, Baa Atoll – the world’s only exclusive-use UNESCO hideaway located in a World Biosphere Reserve.

About Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Founded in 1960, Four Seasons continues to define the future of luxury hospitality with extraordinary imagination, unwavering commitment to the highest standards of quality, and the most genuine and customised service. Currently operating 103 hotels, resorts and residences in major city centres and resort destinations in 43 countries, and with more than 50 projects in development, Four Seasons consistently ranks among the world’s best hotels and most prestigious brands in reader polls, traveller reviews and industry awards. For more information and reservations, visit fourseasons.com. For the latest news, visit press.fourseasons.com and follow @FourSeasonsPR on Twitter.

Source: Four Seasons

New Hotels in Arizona – Just Beyond the Horizon

Arizona is well known for its natural ruggedness, dramatic mountain spires and panoramic desert scenery and the brand new hotel openings are just as inspiring. With British Airways announcing an increased summer service to Arizona in 2017, adding a second flight three days a week from Phoenix Sky Harbor to London Heathrow Airport, it looks like the state is set to welcome even more Brits this summer, and now has an array of new hotels for travellers to lay their heads. Ranging from artistic boutiques to luxury havens that invite visitors to unwind and relax after an intrepid day’s adventuring in the great outdoors.

Cambria Hotel & Suites, Chandler
For those wanting shaded sanctuary from the outdoors and feel that a spot of retail therapy is required then Cambria Hotel & Suites is the ideal property. Set to open in spring 2017, as part of a larger development, this hotel includes chic décor, flexible spaces for meeting or socialising and impressive ‘standard’ rooms that feel first class. Of course, booking a room at the Cambria gives guests the opportunity to stay on the doorstep of a shopping mecca, Chandler Fashion Center. However, if it’s practicalities that impress, then the Cambria includes no less than 136, a pool with cabanas, fitness room, lounge area and 1,300 square feet of meeting space.

FOUND:RE Boutique Hotel, Downtown Phoenix
For the artistically inclined there’s the recently opened boutique property, FOUND:RE, located in downtown Phoenix. The defining feature of this hotel is to treat guests to an ever-changing art gallery, surrounded by varied and amazing talent of all kinds, created and donated by local artists. This unique combination of local creativity is amplified in MATCH Cuisine & Cocktails, the hotel’s wood–fired, taste-bud-tantalising restaurant. The menu is inspired by global street food with a commitment to local sourcing and top-drawer quality. The hotel suites and interior exhume an industrial, bronze cast, post-modern feel that is impossible to experience anywhere else in the state. The hotel and restaurant are close to stadiums, convention venues, cultural epicentres such as the Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, Arizona Opera and, of course, the downtown Phoenix foodie epicentre.

Mountain Shadows, Scottsdale
In early 2017, Westroc Hospitality, which owns Hotel Valley Ho and manages Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, is rolling out the red carpet for a new resort located in Paradise Valley. Mountain Shadows is taking over the former spot of Marriott Mountain Shadows Resort, nestled between the magnificent Camelback and Mummy Mountains. The original resort at this location was built in 1959 and set the bar for southwest luxury, attracting Hollywood royalty such as John “The Duke” Wayne. Elements of the original resort remain, such as sunscreen blocks, postcards and vintage photos. The exterior of this strikingly unique build will be just as reminiscent of that golden era – a blend of current style and mid-century modernism. An abundance of floor-to-ceiling glass will also be intertwined with classic design and neutral colours. This 183-room boutique hotel will have a lounge, restaurants and a 5,000 square-foot fitness centre. The project even includes the redesign of neighbouring Mountain Shadows Golf Club for gentlemanly sports enthusiasts. Also expect a strong fitness component to the Mountain Shadows’ ethos including guided hikes of Camelback Mountain, a juice bar and a 5,000 square-foot, high-tech fitness centre.

Andaz Resort and Spa, Scottsdale
The Andaz Resort, Scottsdale pays homage to some of the formidable architects and famous artists who helped shaped Scottsdale: names such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Girard and Paolo Soleri. Opening at the end of 2016 the resort features mid-century desert-inspired interior and features indigenous art, culture and cuisine. The Andaz has also announced a partnership with Cattle Track, a Scottsdale artistic compound just minutes from the resort and downtown. Cattle Track has and continues to be home to some of Scottsdale’s greatest minds, including the founder of Phoenix Art Museum, Phillip C. Curtis, who lived there for 53 years before his death in 2000. Hotel guests can expect to see live art demonstrations from Cattle Track tenants, and they’ll be invited to tour the offsite studios of the exclusive art compound. Additionally, Cattle Track artwork is featured throughout the property and goods from the local creative hub and other local artists are available for purchase in the Andaz’s gift store.

Courtyard by Marriot Sedona
Veteran hotel developers Marriott opened the doors to their brand new Courtyard Hotel in October 2016 in Sedona, home of the majestic Red Rock. With a keen eye for flexibility and a focus on tailor made accommodation packages this hotel takes seriously its ability to bend to the needs of the guest’s itinerary. The latest room layouts offer multi-functional areas designed either for sleeping, relaxing or preparing for the Arizona outdoors. Soft lighting, multi-plugins and handy luggage drops use technology to ease the headache of travelling logistics. But hotel-tech isn’t the only convenience of this new-build. Uptown Sedona, five minute drive away, offers a diverse shopping experience, restaurants and art galleries. Uptown is also the gateway to Arizona outdoor activity bookings and Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village- the starting block for 300 miles of hiking trails.

Source: Arizona Office of Tourism

Cruise the Beautiful Blue Danube With Spiritual Luminaries Marie Diamond and James Twyman

Budapest, Hungary–If you’ve ever yearned to pamper yourself or your partner with one of those luxurious river cruises and you’ve also had a hankering as a spiritual seeker to experience the divine in unique corners of the world–but couldn’t decide between the two–your dilemma is now solved. You can do both!

In Sept, 2017, you can hop aboard the exclusively chartered MS Emerald Sun to spend 11 days touring eight beautiful and historic cities from Budapest, Hungary, to Prague, in the Czech Republic, in the company of two of the world’s leading spiritual leaders–Marie Diamond, the globally renowned transformational leader and Feng Shui master featured in The Secret; and James Twyman, known worldwide as the Peace Troubadour, spiritual filmmaker and a New York Times bestselling author of The Moses Code.

Each of them will bring their unique gifts to the experience. In addition to onboard workshops and intimate receptions with them, Marie will lead a guided walk through the streets of Prague, the ancient alchemical center of Europe, allowing you to feel the power of the vortexes and spiritual lay lines. James, known for his dynamic peace concerts in war-torn parts of the world, will offer a special concert and meditation.

“The Danube is one of the most romantic rivers in Europe, and together we will visit highly spiritual places along our journey,” says Marie. “Together with James, we will meditate and transform together on one of the most romantic and inspiring rivers of Europe. I am so excited about this trip and I am looking forward to helping you transform your life, spending time with you and visiting these incredibly beautiful cities.”

The tour itself, presented by Spirit at Sea Travel, is filled with enriching, life-changing experiences, exploring:
– The old-world elegance of Budapest
– The castle-topped city of Bratislava, capital of Slovakia
– The glittering city of Beethoven, Schubert, and Strauss–Vienna
– The enchanting medieval towns of Durnstein and Melk, Austria
– Divided Salzburg, Austria, with medieval and baroque buildings of the pedestrian Altstadt (Old City) on its left riverbank, facing the 19th-century Neustadt (New City) on its right
– The charming Regensburg, one Germany’s best preserved medieval cities and a UNESCO World Heritage site
– Nuremberg with its centuries of significance written in its streets-in war and peacetime
– Prague, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with some of the continent’s most stunning architecture clustered around world renowned squares.

Tour in elegant comfort and style, while relishing 23 gourmet meals, and enjoying beautifully appointed staterooms. Watch the unmatched scenery pass by from your balcony or on deck. Attend evening events onboard, attend workshops of your choosing and experience many opportunity to get to know these extraordinary leaders who will be guiding you on this journey.

“This is where the magic happens – an intimate environment surrounded by people who are committed to peace,” says James. “And to experience that while cruising down legendary European rivers, touring ancient historic cities, and experiencing life-changing workshops? Can you think of a better way to spend a week of your life?”

The cruise starts in Budapest on Sept. 7 (travelers should depart the USA on Sept. 6) and the cruise concludes in Prague on Sept 16. Fees range from $3,899 to $4,999 per person (double occupancy), depending on accommodations selected, plus a $299 registration fee. Airfare is not included.

Revel in the divine in the loveliness of middle Europe. Imagine the romance and the richness of this tour-of-a-lifetime amongst like-minded spiritual companions and world class teachers.

For reservations or information, contact the agent for Spirit at Sea Travel: Mayflower Tours Group. From the U.S., call 800 728 0724 and ask for Kathy Basco. To contact her from outside the U.S., call 001 630 435 8222. You may also email her at Kathybasco@mayflowertours.com. If traveling single, there will be a closed cruise Facebook group to connect with potential roommates. For more information, visit www.DanubeCruisewithMarieandJames.com

The Palms Turks and Caicos | Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

The Palms Turks & Caicos includes 72 oceanfront suites featuring panoramic views and accommodations alocated on Grace Bay Beach.

The property includes high-end retail shops, an infinity pool and swim-up bar, the al fresco award-winning Parallel 23 restaurant, several event and meeting space, croquet lawn, tennis courts, and complimentary water sports on white sand beaches.

Five buildings house 72 one, two and three-bedroom suites that each boast over 1,500 sq. ft. of living space and travertine balcony or terrace, most with ocean views. Adjoining bedrooms can also function as Luxury Rooms with over 600 sq. ft. of living space and private outdoor terraces.

Eight Penthouse Suites feature vaulted ceilings, keyed elevator access, private studies, two expansive travertine terraces with a pergola, an interior “water room” with waterfall shower, adjacent SunSuite with outdoor shower, garden and Jacuzzi. Each suite is equipped with a safe, complimentary Wi-Fi and 57-channel cable television. Penthouse Suites have flat panel LCD televisions.

Master baths feature hydro-massage bathtubs and separate marble showers. Suites are equipped with a full kitchen featuring Viking appliances ideal for long-term guests or those seeking the services of a private chef.

For more information visit http://www.thepalmstc.com/

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