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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Foursquare’s Most Popular Places for 2010

Foursquare’s Most Popular Places for 2010

Foursquare, a social media tool that encourages users to “check-in” at venues, realized a phenomenal 3,400% growth last year, with 381 million check-ins worldwide.  The company just released a fun infographic that reveals the most popular places in 2010, according to its members’ updates.
It appears that New Yorkers are more eager to share than others.   (Okay, they’re only sharing their whereabouts, but still…)  Venues in NYC rank #1 in the categories of hotels (Ace Hotel), art galleries (The Museum of Modern Art), music venues (Terminal 3), and food and drink (the Union Square Greenmarket).
Foursquare has six million registered users and clearly continues to grow.   Last August, though, Facebook, the hungry giant of social networks, introduced Places, a smartphone app that serves much the same purpose as Foursquare, but featuring effortless integration with other Facebook services.
Just how many different tools users are willing to use to broadcast where they are and what they’re doing, and how their desire to share will conflict with growing privacy concerns, will become clearer in the coming months.  Check-in soon for updates.

10 dirtiest hotels in Europe EXPOSED

10 dirtiest hotels in Europe EXPOSED

LONDON, England - The list of Europe's ten dirtiest hotels has been released today.
The list of shame is dominated by just three destinations, with London, Amsterdam and Turkey's Aegean coast collectively responsible for Europe's ten dirtiest hotels. The two Turkish hotels top the list, followed by four properties each in London and Amsterdam.
"Despite the average overall rating for a property on TripAdvisor rising to four out of five, it is clear that a minority of hotels are still not delivering the minimum standard of experience travellers deserve, especially in relation to cleanliness" comments Emma O'Boyle, TripAdvisor spokesperson.
Turkey's Top For Dirt
Turkey's popular Aegean coast is home to Europe's two dirtiest hotels.
- Club Aqua Gumbet - The overall loser in this year's list of shame and
described by one traveller as "not safe for humans" and by another as
"hell on earth" one reviewer also warns of the "rat family" living at
the hotel.
- Altin Orfe Hotel - Taking runner-up spot, one TripAdvisor traveller
describes this property as "a health hazard hotel" and another
reviewer warns others to "enter at your own risk."
Look Out In London
One of the world's most popular tourist destinations, London is home to a plethora of world-class hotels, but four hotels in the capital city have made the list:
- Cromwell Crown - A serial 'Dirty Hotels' offender, the Cromwell Crown
came third in this year's European list with one recent traveller
writing, "Absolutely the worst hotel I have ever stayed in." Other
travellers warn of rodent bate placed around public areas, fungus in
the bathrooms, bad smells and stained mattresses.
- Corbigoe Hotel - Another repeat offender, this hotel is in fourth place
with one recent guest claiming it was "the most disgusting room I have
ever seen" and another calling the hotel a "dirty, filthy pit."
- Park Hotel - At number five on the list this hotel is not a crowd
pleaser. TripAdvisor user reviews include comments such as "absolutely
disgusting, shouldn't be allowed to stay open", and "I've never seen a
hotel so dirty."
- Blair Victoria & Tudor Inn Hotel - Described by one recent TripAdvisor
reviewer as "filthy and unsecure" and another as "a complete dive", one
traveller warns fellow guests to simply "stay away!"
Grimy Side of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is home to four of Europe's dirtiest hotels. Hotel de Lantaerne, Hotel y Boulevard, Hotel Manofa and Hotel The Globe came sixth, seventh, ninth and tenth respectively.
Recent reviews on TripAdvisor for Hotel de Lantaerne include "this should be fumigated and demolished" and "the dirtiest hotel in history". While there is a worrying and recurring theme running through the reviews for Hotel Manofa - "free mice with every room" writes one guest, "dirty and mice in room" says another, with a third claiming they found, "a mouse in my bed."
"Despite the fact we are seeing average hotel ratings increase year on year, with the average rating on TripAdvisor now four out of five, the hotels on this list simply aren't keeping pace with the industry, and the repeat offenders should be even more ashamed," concluded TripAdvisor's Emma O'Boyle.
Dirtiest hotels in Europe 2011:
1. Club Aqua Gumbet - Gumbet, Turkey
2. Altin Orfe Hotel - Icmeler, Turkey
3. Cromwell Crown - London, England (SW7 4DX)
4. Corbigoe Hotel - London, England (SW1V 2BH)
5. Park Hotel - London, England (SW1V 2BP)
6. Hotel de Lantaerne - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
7. Hotel Y Boulevard, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
8. Blair Victoria & Tudor Inn Hotel - London, England (SW1V 1QR)
9. Hotel Manofa, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
10. Hotel The Globe, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

OMG Memorial Day Weekend (Open Format Music) Party Cruise

OMG Memorial Day Weekend (Open Format Music) Party Cruise 

The OMG MDW Cruise Pt. 3!

Norwegian Sky “Freestyle cruising”
May 27, 2011 to May 30, 2011

...Miami to Miami ~ Itinerary:
Day 1 / Miami depart @ 5pm
Day 2 / Nassau arrive @ 8am / depart @ 6pm
Day 3 / Great Stirrup Cay (PRIVATE ISLAND) arrive @ 8am / depart @ 5pm
Day 4 / Miami arrive @ 7am (MEMORIAL DAY)

Detailed Itinerary:
Friday, May 27 Miami
Leave from the Port of Miami at 5PM
(Be on the ship no later than 3PM)
Dinner “freestyle dining”
OMG kickoff pool party embarkation to sail time... OMG DJ's ROCKIN THE SHIP
OMG kickoff party Nightclub onboard ship 11pm to 4am (PRIVATE 1HR OPEN BAR)

Saturday, May 28 Nassau Bahamas
free day to explore Nassau and Atlantis!!
Dinner “freestyle dining”
OMG private party Nightclub onboard ship with OMG DJ’s midnight to 4am

Sunday, May 29 Great Stirrup Cay (PRIVATE ISLAND)
OMG Beach party noon to 3pm
OMG Pool Deck party 4pm to 8pm
Dinner “freestyle dining”
OMG Final Night party Nightclub onboard ship with OMG DJ’s 11pm to 3pm (PRIVATE 1HR OPEN BAR)

Monday, May 30 Return to Miami
8AM disembarkation

Not one, not two, BUT three PRIVATE OPEN BAR EVENTS to enhance your Memorial Day Weekend Getaway! Don’t worry be happy there is no driving on this amazing weekend party!

Price includes: ALL food on-board (specialty restaurants such as the Steakhouse are extra), taxes, port charges, entertainment and party fees for all private OMG Cruise events on and off the ship. OMG Cruise events are 100% PRIVATE… beach side, and in the on-board clubs for an artist / DJ-fan interaction unlike any event during your Memorial Day Weekend Getaway!

Fares starting at $499 per person.

1. FREE upgrades from Inside to Ocean view or Ocean view to Balcony if you BOOK your cabin before 2/16/11.

2. RETURNING GUEST from our previous cruise events ask about your exclusive “past guest savings” when you call!

*Deposit of $200 per person includes a non-refundable administration fee of $50.00 per person if booked prior to 3/28/11. Bookings after March 28th are completely non-refundable.

*Your rate includes: accommodations, meals, most beverages (alcohol and soda are NOT included), taxes, fees, port charges, and entrance to all private OMG Cruise events on and off the ship. NCL offers freestyle dining and therefore, gratuities are NOT included.

**Alcoholic beverages (except during the OPEN BAR events), sodas, and NCL non-refundable service charges of $36.00 per person are NOT included in your rate. The non-refundable service fee of $36.00 will be added to your shipboard account once you board the ship.

BOOK TODAY ~ CALL 866-464-5101              866-464-5101       


Valentines Day Hotel Getaways From Maine to Marrakesh

V-Day Hotel Getaways From Maine to Marrakesh

Hotels realize that there is no single recipe for romance (though you might conclude that if there were one, chocolate-dipped strawberries and Champagne would be at the top of the ingredient list).   While some guests may swoon at the sight of a petal-strewn bed, others may dismiss it as hackneyed. 

Here’s a selection of ten Valentine’s Day packages that may strike your fancy: from no-holds-barred extravaganzas to simpler intimate breaks.   Find the recipe that works for you.

201101tresriosjpgPLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO
Recharge your romance responsibly by heading to all-inclusive eco-templeHacienda Tres Rios on Mexico’s Riviera Maya:  “By day, you can play Tarzan or Jane: swimming through mangrove-edged rivers or in the deep, fresh water of cenotes; tracking tropical birds; learning about native flora at the property’s botanical garden; or sunning on the white-sand beach. By night, settle into one of 273 modern-luxe suites, outfitted with locally sourced mahogany furniture, Mexican beige marble floors, and Caribbean views.”

Valentine’s Day package includes:
- Overnight accommodations in an oceanview suite
- Signature spa ritual for couples
- All-inclusive meal and beverage plan
The dollars: From $581
Available through February 28.
For more information or to book, please visit Hacienda Tres Rios, or call (800) 494-9173

The Strand Hotel, an eager new arrival to the Midtown hotel scene, offers “hard-to-beat views with old-world glamour.”  Empire State Building views, proximity to great food/shopping/nightlife, reasonable rates?  The new kid’s got moxie.

Lover’s Lane package includes:
- 2 nights’ accommodations in a premier or executive room
- Continental breakfast daily
- A framed 17 x 17 black-and-white vintage Art Deco photo
- Welcome amenity of Pommery champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries
- Three-course dinner for two at the Strand American Bistro
- Late check-out

The dollars:  From $849 ($425 a night)
Available weekends through February 28.
For more information, please visit the Strand.  To book the package, please call (212) 448-1024, or email

Occupying 102 prime waterfront acres just south of Los Angeles, Terranea “is all grown up, with a golf course, restaurants and lounges, and stately upholstered furniture in the 582 rooms, suites, and villas. Nearly every angle maximizes the Pacific Ocean views: you’ll see the sand from the three pools, spa treatment rooms, and most balconies.”   This fuss-free package still offers everything your beach baby needs. 

KISS package includes:
- Overnight accommodations
- Dinner for two at Catalina Kitchen or mar’sel
- Breakfast for two via room service or at Catalina Kitchen
- Daily resort fee
The dollars: From $455
Available through February 28.
For more information or to book, please visit Terranea, or call (866) 802-8000.

201101siemreapjpgSIEM REAP, CAMBODIA
Pitch some sophisticated, big-ticket woo at Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, a “carefully restored French colonial retreat [featuring] a lap pool inspired by Angkor’s royal baths.”

Enchanting Escape Valentine’s package includes:
- 3 nights’ accommodations in a private villa with butler service
- 30-minute balloon ride over the temples at Angkor Wat, complete with Champagne and canapés
- Private guided sightseeing trip in a 1950’s Jeep
- Champagne breakfast for two in a jungle temple
- A nearly four-hour ‘Amrita Grand Indulgence’ couple spa treatment
- Private roundtrip airport transfers
- Welcome amenity of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champagne and fresh fruit
- Candlelit dinner for two served poolside with a bottle of Chateau Petrus 1988
- For women: a gift of an Eric Raisina dress (with custom fitting) and for men: a Panama hat

The dollars:  $15,670 ($5,223 a night)
Available from February 11 through February 20.
For more information or to book, please visit Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, or call (800) 768-9009.

Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi
 “puts a cushy face on traditional New Mexican design; its 58 rooms, with their earthy sandstone walls and traditional latilla-and-viga ceilings (thick beams crossed with narrow, rough-hewn sticks), are airy and sleek, and decorated with beautiful handwoven rugs and paintings by acclaimed local artists. All have kiva-shaped gas fireplaces (indispensable on those nippy high-desert nights), and four-poster beds so high that they require special stepping stools.”  

Sense of Romance package includes:
- 2 nights’ accommodations
- Candlelit dinner for two via room service or in the hotel’s Living Room
- Daily breakfast for two
- Welcome amenity of sparkling wine, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and a cd of love music
The dollars: From $349 a night
Available through March 31.
For more information or to book, please visit Inn of the Anasazi, or call (505) 988-3030.
201101moroccojpgMARRAKESH, MOROCCO
La Mamounia, the beloved classic reopened in 2009 after a three-year renovation.   Where better to capture the magic of love than in a property that thrums with Arabian Nightsmystery?

Valentine’s Not Just Another Weekend package includes:
- Overnight accommodations
- Roundtrip airport transfers
- A couples’ massage upon arrival
- 45-minute helicopter tour of the Atlas Mountains
- 60-minute hammam ritual treatment in a private hammam
- Cocktails at the Gallerie Majorelle
- Dinner at l’Italien by Don Alfonso

The dollars:  from $3,175 a night (MAD 26,000 at today’s exchange), 2-night minimum stay
Available from February 9 through February 16.
For more information or to book, please visit La Mamounia.
The normally hushed and staid Four Seasons Chicago urges you to seize the moment this February 14 by indulging in this offer, valid only on Valentine’s Day.

What You Get:
- Purchase a bottle of Dom Pérignon in the Seasons Lounge and receive complimentary overnight accommodations in an Executive Suite  (The hotel will allow you to take a rain check on the stay, but they insist you enjoy the Champagne on the holiday itself!)

The dollars:  $425
Available February 14.
For more information, please visit the Four Seasons Chicago.  To book, please call (312) 649-2349.

Fancy some fancy outback romance? Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa,  a 3-hour drive from Sydney, is in a spectacularly rugged setting:  “Looking out at the 4,000-acre Greater Blue Mountain World Heritage Area, Wolgan’s 40 villas seem intimate, even though they are at least 900 square feet and outfitted with private decks and both indoor and outdoor pools.”   Enjoy the holiday in rustic luxury and savor the knowledge that you’re saving $1,000 with this special package.

Romantic Indulgence package includes:

- 2 nights’ accommodations in a Heritage Suite with a private swimming pool
- All meals, nonalcoholic and select alcoholic beverages
- Bottle of Bollinger Champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries
- 2 ‘nature-based activities’ which include wildlife safaris

The dollars:  $1,572 per person ($786 a night)
Available February 11 through February 14.

For more information, please visit Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa. To book, please call  02/9290 9733, or email

Snowy coastal Maine is just the place to hunker down and heat up your romance.  The White Barn Inn & Spa, “a sophisticated 19th-century inn compound—with its clapboard 26-room main house, three outlying riverfront cottages, and two 1820s barns,” has a month-long package with a generous credit that makes a splurge seem somehow sensible.

February Romance package includes:
- Overnight accommodations
- Daily breakfast and afternoon tea
- $200 credit towards extra at the inn

The dollars:  From $530
Available through February.
For more information or to book, please visit the White Barn Inn, or call (207) 967-2321.