Flying and omicron: How to stay safe on a plane this holiday


Cloth masks should not be considered for flying; they aren’t even allowed on some airlines, especially in Europe. Lin Chen, director of the Travel Medicine Center at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass., and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, said N95 masks are the best but not the most comfortable. She said KN95s are “quite good” also. For those who want to use a surgical mask, adding a cloth mask on top can help reduce any gaps.



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Where To Stay, Eat, Drink


Welcome to NYLON’s City Guides, your one-stop shop for the ideal vacation. Here, you’ll find the ultimate recommendations when it comes to where to stay, eat, drink, shop, and more for the world’s hottest cities — all tried and tested by NYLON editors. Read on for your ideal, NYLON-approved itinerary.

Miami is Florida’s crown jewel for a reason. The 305 operates on vibrancy all year round, and there’s something about the permanent heat that makes the hedonism come out to play. It’s a city in rare form, one where you can hop from galleries and museums to pristine beaches, and then indulge in fine dining and even finer partying, all in a single day. Few cities can balance offering rambunctious fun with blissed-out tranquility the way Miami can, making it the ideal destination for an escape from winter’s dreariness, or a full-throttle summertime vacation. A few days exploring everything from South Beach’s art deco architecture to Wynwood’s bars to Miami Beach’s serene waters are sure to revitalize the soul, and have you considering extending your trip by a day or two. It really doesn’t matter what circumstances lead you to a visit to Miami — just know you’re in for an adventure. Read on to prepare your next trip to Miami from where to stay, eat, drink, and more.

Where To Stay

Moxy South Beach
Moxy South Beach

Moxy South Beach: If you’re going to Miami, having a beach within a few blocks is key. Enter Moxy South Beach, which checks that box, along with everything else you need for the ultimate stay. Prime location? Check. Welcoming entryway filled with bright hues and a fully stocked (and always popping bar?) Check. An early morning and late night “bodega” slinging freshly made tacos and burritos, fruit popsicles, and margaritas by the jug? Check.

Here’s our tip for the ideal day: grab a breakfast quesadilla and fresh fruit bowl from Los Buenos Tacos, located in the lobby, then take a 5 min stroll to hit the beach for the morning (towels are conveniently available at the hotel front desk). After a leisurely morning in the sun, head back for a long lunch at Serena, the open-aired restaurant overlooking South Beach (the tuna tostada is a must, as is any mezcal drink), before hitting the pool steps away. From there, choose your own adventure for the evening before crashing into (the very comfortable, we must note) bed.

Where To Eat

Puerto Sagua: Hitting up a Cuban restaurant is an unspoken rule of crossing the Miami-Dade county line. South Beach’s Puerto Sagua offers the best of Cuban comfort foods – ropa vieja, café cubano, and, of course, a cuban sandwich – in a no-frills diner spot. It’s the ideal spot to refuel after a night of partying, and once you’re done, you can quickly cross the street for a blissed-out day at the beach.

La Santa Taqueria: Simply put, everything from La Santa Taqueria absolutely slaps. The birria and al pastor options — both tender and spiced to perfection — are not to be missed, and the cocktails are strong and pretty enough that even the staunchest “live in the moment” type of person will cave in to snap a photo. La Santa’s ambiance is as vibrant as its food; it’s the perfect spot for a fun dinner and a quick drive from Miami’s bustling neighborhood, Wynwood, where you can continue the debauchery.

La Santa Taqueria
La Santa Taqueria

Where To Drink

Miami Mojito Company: Nothing pairs better with Miami’s brutal heat than an ice cold mojito, and Miami Mojito Company has you covered with the best, most creative flavors of the tropical cocktail. Tucked away in a beachy tiki bar with enough plants to trick the inebriated mind into thinking it’s potentially in a jungle, the bar is an ideal locale for large groups. The Wynwood spot is just south of the Miami Design District, so stop by for a mojito (or two, or three) before hitting up the gallery scene, or vice versa. Our pick: the passion fruit mojito.

What To Do

Pérez Art Museum Miami: The Pérez Art Museum, or the PAMM, is Miami’s premiere destination for modern and contemporary art. The waterfront museum offers beautiful views of Biscayne Bay and is a nice place to cool off and take in some culture. The museum’s sculpture garden is particularly impressive, and includes Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto’s “Penetrable BBL Bleu,” an immersive installation made of hundreds of thin, blue suspended vertical rods through which the visitor can traverse. Spoiler alert: It’s very fun. See all of PAMM’s current exhibitions here.

Vizcaya

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens: If you find yourself in the mood to immerse yourself in old-school luxury, spend a few hours at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering in the present-day Miami neighborhood of Coconut Grove. Vizcaya’s gardens are enchanting and serene; manicured grounds sit next to magnificent banyan trees, and orchids bloom in exquisite bursts of color. Then there’s the mansion itself, with 32 rooms packed with exquisite details, making this landmark an appealing stop for both the history buff and the aesthete in equal measure.



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Hospitality Experts Reveal Pandemic Travel Trends That Are Here To Stay


What do Bleisure, WFH and RTD have in common?

They are some of the biggest trends in hospitality right now.

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A number of the changes that were made to ensure the safety of guests have remained popular among travelers.

For instance, Tom Santora, Managing Director of Hotel Vin, believes that working from hotel (WFH) is here to stay.

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Santora predicts that hotels will continue offering packages including free Wi-Fi access and conference room usage to meet of the need of business travelers. He also believes that families and couples will take business travel opportunities and turn them into vacations everyone can enjoy.

Another trend Santora sees is that the hotel has become the destination for many guests. In previous years, many viewed hotels as simply a place to sleep at night during a vacation, but he believes there will be a trend of travelers flocking to trendy properties with experiential packages. Hotel Vin offers, for example, tastings at Bacchus Kitchen + Bar, the hotel’s on-site restaurant, as well as exclusive classes and events with wineries and distilleries in the area.

Philip Bates, CEO and Co-Founder of TMC Hospitality also sees increased demand for local experiences.

“The pandemic has taught us to better appreciate the small things, which will lead people to seek out ways to get to know and experience the cities to which they are traveling,” said Bates. “Any locals-only type of offering will have appeal. For example, at our new Drift San José del Cabo, we are offering a mezcal bar developed in partnership with Mezcal Exiliado and a local taco truck accompanied by live music in the courtyard.”

He also sees the ongoing evolution of the “bleisure” travel trend that combines business and leisure on a trip.

People are looking forward to getting out more and will increasingly mix work trips with leisure trips,” said Bates. “Taking extra time to see friends and family, explore cities, and work remotely will all play a big role in ‘bleisure’ demand. Hotels that offer extended stay rates, spaces and co-working areas will benefit from this trend.”

Lior Sekler, Vice President of Revenue Management at HRI Hospitality, focused on how travelers were spending.

“The increase of disposable spend within the younger generation is impacting search and interest in travel, as they’re looking for unique experiences, interesting new destinations and ‘Instagrammable’ content to share on social,” said Sekler. “Research shows a more than 20 percent increase in bookings by those influenced by social media content.”

Travelers, in general, are spending more.

“In 2021, the U.S. experienced the strongest consumer spending growth in 70 years, totaling 8 percent growth,” Sekler noted. “This expenditure purge is expected to continue into 2022, as consumer wealth is at record levels and they are eager and ready to spend money.”

Dana Pellicano, Vice President, Food and Beverage, Global Operations at Marriott International pointed out that certain aspects of the visitor experience that were added during the pandemic continue to be popular.

“The pandemic provided an opportunity for a room-service redo: Over the course of the last year, room service revenue far exceeded budgets and overtook restaurants and lounges as the top revenue-generating outlet,” said Pellicano. “At Marriott International, we started reinventing room service five years ago. The pandemic accelerated this adoption, and dozens more hotels migrated to this new room service format last year, offering food that boxes and travels well, at prices more commensurate with today’s customer expectations.”

Pellicano also noted that mobile dining remains popular, along with the use of QR codes for easy access to menus and ordering.

RTD or “ready-to-drink” beverages are also here to stay. These beverages offer a hermetically sealed solution to the crafted cocktail, often by a familiar endorsed brand, noted Pellicano, who pointed to another draw–these beverages often come with high-quality ingredients to reasonably replicate a great bar experience.





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6 Fantastic Boutique Hotels To Stay At In Omaha


With thousands of hotel rooms available, Airbnbs, and bed and breakfast options, it’s sometimes difficult to ensure you choose the right accommodations when traveling to a new city. When we travel and opt to stay at a hotel, my wife and I prefer to visit local hotels, the more intimate, the better. Boutique hotels are among our favorite places because they tend to provide unique experiences with personalized service, as well as outstanding rooms.

So, when planning your next visit to Omaha, I suggest considering a stay at any of these boutique hotels, as they’re sure to provide unique experiences to add to your Big O memories. Centrally located to attractions and major businesses in downtown and midtown Omaha, the hotels often are located in vintage buildings, repurposed to create special hotel stays.

The nice thing about Omaha is its interstate and major streets offer quick access to attractions, restaurants, and shopping, so it may take only 15–20 minutes to get to places such as Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium (considered one of the top zoos in the world), Durham Museum, Lauritzen Gardens, or Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue for hiking in Omaha’s forest or even trying your luck on the rope course and ziplines. Head to neighborhoods such as Dundee and Benson for outstanding dining at eateries, such as Au Courant, Yoshitomo, Pitch Pizzeria, and Dundee Dell. If you prefer a driving service, Uber or Lyft can get you around at reasonable rates.

The restaurant at the Farnam Hotel in Omaha
Photo Credit: Tim Trudell

1. The Farnam

Omaha’s newest boutique hotel may be its swankiest. Located in the Old Market at 13th and Farnam Streets, the glass-enclosed former Landmark Center underwent more than $50 million in renovation transforming into the chic Farnam Hotel. Located across the street from the Gene Leahy Park, the hotel, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, is perfect for outdoor concerts, a nice walk, or people watching — once the renovation is completed in mid-2022.

Almost everything about the upscale establishment sings style, from the remote-controlled blinds to “car wash” showers with multiple showerheads, in rooms and suites, nicknamed visionaries and billionaires. Even the carpet on each hallway floor is designed to resemble an aerial view of the Missouri River only a few blocks from the hotel.

You’ll find unique art throughout The Farnam, including burnt wood panels at Dynamite from the 2016 M’s Pub fire. Offering fine dining with a wood-fire oven, Dynamite Woodfire Grill is a great spot to enjoy a Tomahawk or sirloin steak, as well as octopus and even a wood-fired cauliflower steak. Before dinner, consider sharing an appetizer, such as Reuben croquettes. With its upscale accommodations and fine dining, The Farnam is perfect for a special occasion or getaway.

Pro Tip: Located on the northern edge of the Old Market, The Farnam is near great restaurants, such as M’s Pub, Le Bouillon, and Trini’s, as well as shops and galleries.

The Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel
Photo Credit: Tim Trudell

2. Kimpton Cottonwood

The Blackstone Hotel once entertained presidents and celebrities during its heyday. However, it may be best known for being the place where the Reuben sandwich was invented. You can also toss in butter brickle ice cream beginning its flavorful adventures there. The Blackstone eventually closed and became home to business offices.

Today, you can enjoy a comfortable stay with a nice view of downtown Omaha, as the hotel was reborn in 2020 as the Kimpton Cottonwood. It may be upscale, but the boutique hotel offers an affordable stay, along with an impressive outdoor swimming pool and bar.

Enjoy a drink at the Cottonwood Room lounge before grabbing a bite to eat — maybe a modern twist on the Reuben — at The Committee Chophouse restaurant. The Cottonwood is centrally located in the exciting Blackstone entertainment district, home to restaurants, coffeehouses, bars, and clubs.

Pro Tip: Within walking distance to Midtown Crossing, the mixed use area is home to shops, restaurants, and bars. Spielbound is a fun place to enjoy a beer, wine, or coffee while playing a variety of board games.

Exterior of the Hotel Deco in Omaha
Photo Credit: Tim Trudell

3. Hotel Deco

The name perfectly describes the Art Deco-designed building in downtown Omaha, just steps away from the iconic Old Market’s restaurants, shops, galleries, and bars. With contemporary rooms to provide an enjoyable stay, you may want to stay inside and enjoy a drink and dinner at the Monarch, with specialty cocktails and dry-aged steak among the outstanding menu items.

Built in 1930 as the Redick Tower, the Hotel Deco underwent a major renovation a few years ago to create a luxury boutique hotel about two blocks from the famous Orpheum Theater, home to traveling Broadway plays and musicals. Hotel Deco has been named to the National Register of Historic Places and Historic Hotels in America.

Pro Tip: Located near excellent dining, consider lunch or dinner at Wilson and Washburn, located in an iconic classic building and famous for its beet chips. The eatery has the feel of a neighborhood bar with great food.

The interior of the Element Omaha Midtown Crossing
Photo Credit: Tim Trudell

4. Element Omaha Midtown Crossing

Whether you’re visiting for a weekend getaway or an extended stay, the Element Omaha Midtown Crossing offers the conveniences of home away from home. A pet-friendly hotel, the Element is an excellent location, with Turner Park available for giving your dog room to play and stretch his or her legs.

With a variety of restaurants within walking distance, you can enjoy outstanding Asian, Mexican, and American fare, including tasty buffalo wings at Ray’s. Wohlner’s Grocery is within walking distance, so you can pick up a few groceries for your stay.

The Element features modern rooms, with comfortable beds and plenty of space to relax after a day of work or play. With a full kitchen, you can create your own outstanding dinners. If you’re in town on business, rooms include a spacious work area. Its main floor includes a complimentary breakfast room, as well as a lounge and visiting area. The Element is within walking distance of Joslyn Art Museum, as well as the Blackstone District, home to restaurants, coffeehouses, and bars.

Pro Tip: A short drive from the hotel, Zen Coffee Company offers outstanding java, teas, and ice cream drinks. Consider stopping in next door at The Next Chapter bookstore, where you’ll find an excellent selection of works, including local and regional authors.

The Peregrine Hotel Omaha Downtown
Photo Credit: Tim Trudell

5. The Peregrine Omaha Downtown

Named for the falcons that are a local favorite, living on the window sills and other nooks and crannies of the neighboring WoodmenLife Tower, The Peregrine Omaha Downtown, part of Hilton Hotels’ Curio collection, opened its doors near downtown Omaha in 2021. With 89 rooms, the boutique hotel is within walking distance of the Old Market and Joslyn Museum, while also close to unique dining spots and Bike Union and Coffee.

Located inside a building more than a century old, The Peregrine combines modern comforts — and pet-friendly rooms — with a taste of history that surrounds it with classic architecture. Rooms feature views of downtown Omaha, as well as comfortable king and queen beds. They also include digital key access, Nespresso coffee makers, and spacious working areas.

Guests can enjoy drinks and dinner, featuring seasonal menus, at the chic Habitat Restaurant and Bar. During warm weather, enjoy drinks and appetizers at The Takeoff, a rooftop bar.

With modern art located throughout the hotel, guests will find the Peregrine falcon-inspired art in rooms and hallways.

Pro Tip: For a uniquely Omaha dining experience, take a short 5-minute walk to Block 16, home to one-of-a-kind farm-to-table daily menu specialties, such as a smash burger featuring wagyu patties, bacon jam, and caramelized onions on a soft potato bun. Alton Brown of Food Network called Block 16’s Croque Garcon burger the best in the country.

The Magnolia Omaha hotel
Photo Credit: Tim Trudell

6. Magnolia Omaha

The Magnolia Omaha is a luxury boutique hotel that offers an intimate, comfortable experience. Affiliated with the inclusive Magnolia chain since 2006, the hotel is excellent for corporate and personal travel. A complimentary shuttle takes visitors to meetings or attractions, such as the Old Market. You can also enjoy a short walk to the historic shopping and dining area.

The Magnolia offers guest rooms and suites, which have been known to attract celebrities and dignitaries. About a block from the vintage Orpheum Theater, it’s common to see performers from touring Broadway shows at the hotel.

With classically-designed rooms and suites, the Magnolia features a comfortable experience. Guest rooms include a king or two queen beds, spacious work, and relaxation areas. With some rooms offering more than 300 square feet, you’ll definitely feel at home during your stay here.

Built in 1923 to resemble an Italian palace, the former Aquila Court offers four floors of classic architecture design and art pieces. The courtyard includes a water fountain and floral arrangements sure to provide a cozy environment to enjoy a cup of coffee or glass of wine. The courtyard often hosts weddings and other events.

Pro Tip: Joslyn Art Museum is a short drive or 15-minute walk from the hotel. With free admission, the museum is home to classical art dating back to the 1600s, as well as contemporary and rare pieces. Its western gallery includes Remington statues and art, as well as Native American-created beadwork and drawings. 

For more things to do in Omaha, Nebraska, visit these stories:



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Travel industry to stay in flux for the foreseeable future: Collinson


The travel industry will have to “roll with the punches” as government requirements continue to evolve with the pandemic, according to the Asia-Pacific president of a travel services firm.

“The key thing is that the industry will remain in flux for the foreseeable future,” Todd Handcock of Collinson Group told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.

He pointed out that Hong Kong this week announced plans to ban flights from eight countries, after Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city was “facing a very dire situation of a major community outbreak any time.”

In contrast, the U.K. is set to relax testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers, Handcock added.

Testing and vaccinations will continue to be part of the process of travel for 2022 and possibly 2023, he said, referencing a recent survey that Collinson conducted with CAPA – Centre for Aviation.

“We’re going to have to continue to roll with the punches and adjust as things change,” he said.

He also said he doesn’t expect omicron to cause “significant” changes.

Goals and obstacles ahead

When asked if verification of tests and vaccination statuses could be simplified for travel, Handcock said the goal is to have a digital, interoperable system that can be used globally.

But he added: “We’re still a long ways away” from that.

Raising vaccination rates around the world would also be good for anyone who travels, he said.

Developed countries have raced ahead in offering booster shots, while much of the world hasn’t been inoculated, he said.

Echoing the sentiments of experts such as those from the World Health Organization, he added that Covid variants will emerge as long as there are large, unvaccinated populations.

About 59% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine — but only 8.8% of those in low-income countries received at least one dose, according to data collated by Our World in Data.

The WHO said Thursday that the unequal distribution of vaccines will undermine global economic recovery, and that low vaccine coverage in many countries was a major factor in the emergence of variants such as delta and omicron.



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Traveling in WNC, Asheville for Christmas, New Year’s? Stay informed.


As the travel season reaches a peak in the days leading up to Christmas, there’s good news and bad news for people in WNC looking to travel this holiday season.

The good news is that roads will be a little more open in the coming days, according to an announcement from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, making highway travel smoother for many.

The bad news is a COVID-19 déjà vu.

Here’s what you need to know about driving, flying and staying healthy during the Christmas, New Year holidays.

State road construction halted

To prepare for heavy traffic — the heaviest of which could be on Dec. 27 — NCDOT has suspended many major construction projects for the time being.

NCDOT announced in a Dec. 21 news release most state road projects will close down through the evening of Dec. 28 and then from Dec. 31 to Jan. 4, allowing major highway traffic to flow smoothly.

“Exceptions include bridges being replaced, long-term lane construction that cannot be temporarily removed, and highway work that does not impact travel,” according to the release.

For example, the Interstate 40 project near the Tennessee border will have to keep lane closures in place for safety purposes.

NCDOT recommended drivers use Interstates 26 and 81 to avoid this work zone.

Gas prices

Those driving to and from North Carolina can expect gas prices to average $3.11, according to data Carolinas AAA spokesperson Tiffany Wright shared in a Dec. 13 news release.

Gas averaged $3.33 in the U.S. in mid-December, an 8-cent decrease since mid-November.

“Gas prices typically tend to fall around this time of year due to low demand,” said Wright said in the release. “But this trend has also been assisted by the recent drop in crude prices due to fears over the new variant, so it remains to be seen if oil prices stabilize or increase.”

Wright did not immediately respond to questions about travel forecasts for WNC on Dec. 21.

Across the U.S., AAA forecasts an estimated 109 million will travel 50 miles or more between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2. That’s a 34% increase

COVID-19 and the omicron variant

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Fauci: World has been ‘shocked’ by omicron variant

America’s leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday the world had been “shocked” by the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus as more countries are reporting surges in infections. (Dec. 21)

AP

Local, state and public officials are telling people who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted to stay home.

For those who are vaccinated and boosted, it’s safe to gather, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Related reporting:  Buncombe COVID-19 cases up 50% in a week, omicron and holiday could see ‘many more’ infected

But those who do get together should wear masks, stay in well-ventilated areas and get tested.

Buncombe County promoted the state’s testing and vaccine site locators and in its latest COVID-19 update on Dec. 21.

Local leaders also are sharing the N.C. guidance for public transportation, which outlines strict mask mandates for passengers and drivers.

Flying? Mask up.

“We are definitely seeing numbers that are more in line with where we were pre-pandemic,” said Asheville Regional Airport spokesperson Tina Kinsey. “I think travelers should expect busy travel days, especially just before Christmas and then just after New Year’s.”

Though the airport may be seeing more normal travel rates, Kinsey said, what it’s not seeing are changes in COVID-19 precautions. Flyers are still asked to wear masks in the airport and on planes.

“We have not relaxed those measures,” Kinsey said. “There is still a mask mandate. You must wear a mask over your nose and mouth from the time you come to the airport to the time you exit your final destination’s airport.”

A tip the airport likes to give travelers is to bring several masks with them, Kinsey said.

Airports are still receiving “enhanced cleaning,” she added.

Anyone traveling in the coming week will see long lines and should arrive at least two hours before their flight boards.

Kinsey encouraged flyers to keep an eye on the for more information.

The omicron surge hasn’t affected the airport yet, but Kinsey encouraged flyers to keep an eye on the Asheville Regional Airport website for updates.

Andrew Jones is Buncombe County government and health care reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the  USA TODAY Network. Follow or reach him at @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter. Email him at [email protected].



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Five More Hotel Cos. Join HRS’ Green Stay Initiative


Corporate lodging platform HRS has added five new partners to its Green Stay Initiative, the company announced: NH Hotel Group, Leonardo Hotels, Indian Hotels Co., Camino Real Hotels and Intercity Hotels of Brazil.

HRS’ Green Stay Initiative, launched in March, uses a proprietary formula to give participating hotels in its inventory a sustainability score that takes into account a property’s energy consumption, water use and waste disposal. Several chains, including Marriott International and Accor, previously had announced their participation.

Indian Hotels Co. brands include Taj, SeleQtions and Vivanta. The company, which operates hotels in 11 countries, aims to put its entire portfolio of more than 100 hotels through the Green Stay Initiative, according to a company spokesperson. 

NH Hotel Group, headquartered in Spain, operates multiple brands across 31 countries in Europe and the Americas. Leonardo Hotels, headquartered in Berlin, has about 84 properties in eight European countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain and Italy. Both NH Hotel Group and Leonardo Hotels plan to put all their brands through the initiative, according to HRS.

Camino Real Hotels operates 33 hotels in 22 destinations in Mexico. Intercity Hotels lists 41 properties available in Brazil. 

BTN this month recognized HRS CEO Tobias Ragge as one of the 25 Most Influential individuals of 2021 based on the development of the Green Stay Initiative.

“This is a change for the future,” Ragge said. “It’s as meaningful to our industry as the invention of the internet, and it is going to be as impactful.”

Participation Factors

Accor joined the initiative in part because the “methodology aligns with the dominant and emerging industry reporting frameworks”—citing the Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative and Hotel Water Measurement Initiative metrics developed in part by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance—”enabling consistent comparisons and benchmarking of hotels within a specific geographic area,” wrote Accor SVP of sales and distribution Markus Keller in an email. 

Similarly, Marriott noted that HRS was leveraging industry methodologies, such as the HCMI and HWMI, and that its “effort is rooted in metrics,” said Marriott VP of sustainability and supplier diversity Denise Naguib. 

Both hotel companies also noted a significant increase in interest in sustainability measurements from the corporate travel community. “Customers have requested sustainability information before, but over the last 12 months, the requests have intensified, and it would be fair to say at least doubled,” Keller wrote. “There is more senior-level focus on [environmental, social and corporate governance] compliance, and this has filtered to travel managers expressing their companies’ requirements and expectations.”

Ragge added that HRS aims to be a facilitator of sustainability information and to bring the efforts being undertaken by the hotel industry to the travel buyer community. “Let’s not forget that only 25 percent [of hotels] are chain-affiliated,” he said. “People are overwhelmed with the complexity of this topic.”

All of Marriott’s brands are participating, except for Homes & Villas, Naguib said, adding that additions from the company’s roughly 7,900 global properties to the HRS system are ongoing. To date, nearly 2,000 Accor hotels from more than 75 countries have been onboarded on the Green Stay Initiative. “This number will be extended further in the new year with the completion of an enhanced hotel reporting program,” Keller added.



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How to stay chic on holiday: pack a robe and wash your undies in the sink | Fashion


Although for a lot of us, it’s been a long while between trips, holiday season is finally here and borders permitting, we might be able to head to the countryside or the coast for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

This week I spoke to two of the most stylish travellers I know about their tips for taking care of clothes on holiday – and looking good doing it.

Pack neat, and smart

Aside from neatly folding the contents of her suitcase, designer and creative director, Lucy Folk says she often packs things “on hangers ready to put straight into the hotel cupboard”. This helps any creases fall out before you reach for the garment the next day.

This tip is even more handy if you’re travelling by car. Ashley Helvey, stylist and creative director, says she often hangs garments in the back of the car if she’s driving to her destination.

She says, “depending on where and how long I’m going I sometimes pack dry cleaning with their hangers. If kept in their bags they tend to wrinkle less”. Plus, she says “it’s nice to have extra hangers in the place you’re staying”.

It’s also useful to pack bras, swimwear and anything else delicate in smaller, individual bags to prevent clasps or hooks from getting tangled and snagging. Any liquids should also be stored in separate bags to prevent leakages from damaging your clothes.

Plan your outfits

Depending on where you’re going, Helvey suggests wearing a sweater and your coat on the train or plane. She packs one pair of flats and one pair of heels, more blouses than pants or skirts and two dresses. She says a “silk scarf and lipstick always make me feel fresh while travelling”.

Stylist Ashley Helvey recommends packing more blouses than pants or skirts, and just a single pair of flats and heels.
Stylist Ashley Helvey recommends packing more blouses than pants or skirts, and just a single pair of flats and heels. Photograph: SBenitez/Getty Images

Folk says, “I like to pack things I can wear from day to night”. She recommends twin sets, “because you can vary your outfit but you still have one strong look”. She says fabrics that are easy to wash and dry, like towelling, are great for travelling, especially for “mums as we need to wash our clothes as much as our kids’ clothes!”

Her other tips include robes that can be worn “around the hotel and to the beach”, they can also be dressed “up at night with some festive jewels”. She also likes sarongs because you “can wear them a myriad of ways, they are easy to wash, quick to dry … and they are great to put in your beach bag for a pre-lunch outfit change”.

Doing laundry on the go

If you’re travelling for an extended period, Folk recommends “washing underwear and socks in the hotel bath or bathroom sink” before hanging them over towel or shower rails to dry. She packs her own washing detergent to be sure her clothes smell fresh and chemical free.

On extended trips, the hotel sink works just fine as a laundry.
On extended trips, the hotel sink works just fine as a laundry. Photograph: Mariakray/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Helvey also washes things in the bathtub and travels with her own detergent, she recommends flaked olive oil soap because it’s “easy to travel with as it’s not a liquid”. She says you can “make this yourself by grating olive oil soap with a cheese grater and putting it in a little cotton sack. Add some essential oil and it will also keep your suitcase smelling good.”

How to remove creases

Bathroom steam or lightly wetting a garment than hanging it to dry can both help remove creases.
Bathroom steam or lightly wetting a garment then hanging it to dry can both help remove creases. Photograph: EyeEm/Alamy

Folk says she often hangs crushed garments in the bathroom, turns on a hot shower and lets the steam help reduce the creases. “It can work a treat but wastes water,” she says. Helvey has a slightly different method. She lightly wets her garments, then hangs them, or stretches them out flat to dry.

For a garment that’s been crushed in your suitcase or needs a refresh after being worn a few times, Helvey carries a steamer with her. She recommends the eSteam by Jiffy and says, “I always bring a steamer and a little lavender oil or rose water to drop in the steamer chamber, the ultimate life hack”.



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Where to Stay in Atlantic City — Atlantic City Hotels


Remember the er, rather messy portion of the pandemic when people were violating stay-at-home guidelines because they just wanted to have a smidgen of fun? Welp…I was not one of those people, and exclusively left the house for one of three things: going the grocery store, attending un-fun physical therapy appointments two or three times a week, and seeing my boyfriend a small handful of times during the summer months.

That being said, when Ocean Casino Resort of Atlantic City offered me and my boo an opportunity to check out the property over a weekend in July, we jumped at the chance—it was our first time traveling together since summer 2019! We didn’t get a chance to celebrate his birthday last year (thanks COVID), and a quick getaway at a casino (after we got Pfizer vaxxed, of course) felt like the perf opportunity to amend that.

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You may have your preconceived notions about Atlantic City, but I’m here to tell you they’re wrong. Atlantic City (esp if you stay at a resort like this) is absolutely worth your time, and is actually an ideal weekend trip for couples, a bach party, or a reunion with old friends who wanna take a vacay that feels fancy but not super out-of-budget fancy. If you’re already making spring and summer 2022 travel plans, here’s everything you need to know before you hit the Atlantic City scene…

(P.S. The writer received a free stay/meals/experiences in order to write this review.)

Your Atlantic City Packing List

The Ocean is the legit best part of Atlantic City.

The Ocean Casino Resort is a relatively new and chic property located not too shy of the boardwalk on Atlantic City, NJ that allows guests to live in the lap of luxury during every moment of their stay. The deluxe suites on the top floor, where we were fortunate enough to stay, had gorgeous floor-to-ceiling length windows that spanned the entire width of the room for unparalleled views of the beach. I mean:

The outside of the Ocean Casino Resort.

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The view from our room!

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Our suite came complete with a king-size pillow top bed literally half the size of my NYC studio apartment and a bathroom with glorious double sinks and a glass spa shower that would put some of the finest spa establishments to shame. Plus, the bathroom had a separate lil toilet room for some much-needed privacy, and who wouldn’t love that?

Courtesy/Tory Kooyman

Courtesy/Tory Kooyman

After getting over the initial excitement of entering the suite, we were treated to a multi-course tapas dinner at Amada by Chef Garces (he beat the one and only Bobby Flay during a 2008 appearance on Iron Chef America) where we feasted on crispy potatoes, jámon iberíco, wild mushroom rice, juicy steak, spicy margaritas, and more if you can believe! A late night food coma promptly ensued, despite talking a walk through the enormous casino afterwards.

Yeah, about their casinos…

Can we please change the narrative that most casino-populated towns like Atlantic City are reserved for (a) older people 50+ with money to burn or (b) high rollers making millions? Please? During our stay, we saw plenty of 20-somethings enjoying themselves at slot machines and cashing out their earnings at the counter, so if you’re a youngin’, don’t feel intimidated to check it out. I won a total of $6, so there’s that!

Fun fact: Instead of keeping the actual casino portion of the resort closed off from natural light—a tactic designed to get people to stay in the casino as long as possible—the Ocean has the same floor-to-ceiling windows in certain areas of the gambling areas, making it the first resort of its kind to do that. Cool, huh?

The boardwalk deserves your attention, too.

Determined to make the most of our one full day in Atlantic City, we took advantage of our surroundings and had some serious fun on the beach after attending breakfast and hitting up a Diplo concert (casual) at the resort’s HQ2 Day Club. The coastline is absolutely stunning, which, by extension, means that the beach is immaculate. If you’re also a kid at heart like me, kick off your sandals and frolic in the sand or water in your favorite sundress, like so:

Thanks for the cute pic, bae!

Rick Avila

After hitting up the beach, be sure to head down the beach to the boardwalk and marvel at the ferris wheel. For someone who low-key has a fear of heights, it was incredibly stable and offered a look alllll the way down the beach when you get to the highest point of the wheel. Don’t forget to share a kiss with your S.O. (and get a selfie of it, obv) when you reach the top!

Did I mention the ferris wheel cars are ~air conditioned~???

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The boardwalk is also the spot for junk food galore—we sadly didn’t indulge in any funnel cakes, jumbo corn dogs, or cotton candy clouds because we were too full from the booze and sliders we had at the day club party. But we stumbled on to something way better: Hiding in the cut of the boardwalk (seriously, you could blink and miss it) is an axe throwing ring, where for about $10 you can toss teeny axes at a large wooden target board. I’m a 5’2″ girl with the athleticism of a cucumber, but managed to get two axes in the center of the board!

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Staying at the Ocean is an investment—the room that we stayed in can cost up to $399 per night depending on the time of year you go—but is the price not worth your happiness? For stunning views of the beach, an ~upscale~ casino experience, and Iron Chef-level food, it’ll be an experience that you’ll never forget.

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