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Royal Caribbean Increases the Daily Fee Used to Tip Staff

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/29/2017, 12:00 AM

For the third time in three years, Royal Caribbean Cruises is hiking up its "automatic gratuity"—the term for the service fee that lines recommend each passenger pays per day during a cruise. They make this recommendation by automatically adding the tip to your bill. To raise or lower the amount—or strike it altogether for those who prefer to tip housekeeping staff, restaurant servers, and other ...

Robert De Niro’s Hotel Brand Goes On a Building Spree in 2018

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/28/2017, 12:15 AM

Nobu Hotels, co-owned by actor Robert De Niro, star chef Nobu Matsuhisa, and movie producer Meir Teper, will have a busy 2018. The upscale chain is adding new properties in Chicago; Los Cabos, Mexico; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and two in Spain—one in Barcelona, the other in Marbella.  Since the first Nobu hotel opened in 2013 inside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, six more have followed in locales aro...

Hyatt's Cancellation Rules Worsen for Consumers

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/26/2017, 5:00 PM

Hyatt Hotels has made it more expensive for you to cancel a reservation.  At most of the company's 700-odd properties, customers must now cancel at least 48 hours ahead of their planned arrival or they'll be charged. The new penalty, which will be imposed at all Hyatt brands except for Hyatt Residence Club resorts, Miraval resorts, and M life resorts, kicks in on reservations made or changed afte...

New App Helps Visually Impaired Travelers Navigate Airport

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/26/2017, 3:30 PM

American Printing House for the Blind's "Nearby Explorer" app—a GPS-enabled mobile wayfinding service developed specifically for visually impaired users—has a brand-new feature to help blind travelers get around Louisville International Airport. And the app's developers hope that's just the beginning.  Dubbed "Indoor Explorer," the new tool uses Bluetooth connectivity, OpenStreetMap data, and mo...

Lady Gaga Residency in Vegas Set for Late 2018

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/21/2017, 6:00 AM

By the end of next year, it will be easier than ever for Las Vegas gamblers to watch Lady Gaga perform "Poker Face" on the same day they perfect their own. The singer is settling in at the MGM Park Theater for a bigtime residency expected to begin in late 2018. Currently set to include 74 concerts, the deal, which Variety says will make Gaga more than $1 million per show, could be extended, provi...

It's Here: Donald Trump Robot Unveiled at Disney's Hall of Presidents

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/19/2017, 1:15 AM

About six months behind its usual post-election refurbishment schedule, Walt Disney World has unveiled its Audio-Animatronic version of the current president of the United States, including a short recorded monologue by him about the American spirit. The attraction officially opens to the public on Tuesday, December 19.  The Hall of Presidents, running since 1971 when Richard M. Nixon was in the ...

In January, Learn to Ski—for Less—in Michigan

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/19/2017, 12:30 AM

It might surprise you to learn that Michigan has one of the highest concentrations of ski areas in the United States. There are around 40 places to hit the slopes in the state. According to the Detroit Free Press, only New York has more (take that, Colorado and Vermont).  In January, 28 ski areas across the state are banding together to offer affordable introductory packages for downhill skiing...

Why Hotel Bills in Hawaii Are About to Go Up

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/16/2017, 2:00 AM

On January 1, the tax on lodgings in Hawaii will increase by 1% statewide. But that's not all. The fee charged to tourists who rent rooms in hotels, condos, B&Bs, and "transient accommodations" of any other kind is going up to 10.25%. Paired with a 4% sales tax, that means state legislators will now charge visitors an extra 14.25% on top of room rates, simply for the pleasure of sleeping in p...

Neapolitan Pizza, Panama Hats Among Traditions Given UNESCO Heritage Status

By Zac Thompson

Posted on 12/13/2017, 11:00 PM

As anybody who travels with open eyes and an open mind soon discovers, a place isn't made unique just by its buildings and scenery. The dishes, dances, crafts, languages, and other traditions developed there are just as important and every bit as worthy of preservation. That's why the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage was established in 2003—to bring awareness and protections to signifi...

Hotel Earns Guinness Record for Whisky: 1,031 Varieties

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 12/13/2017, 12:00 AM

Fans of the tipple might want to toddle off to Scotland for their next holiday. The Guinness Book of World Records has officially recognized one hotel there for having the most varieties of commercially available whiskies. With a collection numbering more than 2,500 bottles and 1,031 varieties, reports London's Daily Mail, the 38-room Glenesk Hotel, in the village of Edzell, Scotland, has taken th...

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