Archive for October, 2012

Review Posted for Manor House in New York

October 25th, 2012 by Mariah

The following review was added for Inn #11649:

Inn: Manor House
Innkeeper(s): Carolyn and Larry
Inn Email: fivepnts@localnet.com;
E-mail: Heather
Date of Stay: October 20, 2012
Overall Rating: 5
Comments: We had a wonderful time here! The property is breathtaking, and the hospitality could not be beat. Carolyn actually baked cookies for us when we arrived!

I would rate this B&B 5/5 in a heart beat, and will be recommending it to all of my family and friends.

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New review posted for the White Rose Inn in MO

October 25th, 2012 by Mariah

The following review was added for Inn #12334:

Inn: White Rose Bed and Breakfast
Innkeeper(s): Jim and Jan
Inn Email: joharo@4states.com;
E-mail: Anonymous
Date of Stay: 2010
Overall Rating: 5
Comments: Jim and Jan go overboard in their meal preparations and their hospitality. We have been there three times.

Election-year travel so elegant, you will swear a lobbyist paid for it

October 10th, 2012 by Mariah

(CNN) — It’s election time in the United States, and what better way to get into the spirit than by taking a politically inspired trip?

First on the campaign trail: visiting a battleground state with the motto, “As Ohio goes, so goes the nation.” Ohio will be the first stop on a November “U.S. Elections 2012″ tour led by Political Tours, an English tour company.

“We go to Ohio, which is obviously one of the key swing states, and it has taken every president to the White House since Kennedy,” said Nicholas Wood, the company’s owner. “Demographically, it’s a very good way of getting into the issues in the election.”

Capitalizing on presidential politics was an easy decision for Wood, a former foreign correspondent, since his company focuses on politics and current affairs around the world. Upcoming tours include trips to Kosovo, Libya and North Korea.

“The world has a stake in the U.S. elections because the U.S. has such a big hold over the rest of us, and so it’s the election that everyone looks to,” Wood said.

The “U.S. Elections 2012″ tour will take travelers to Ohio and Washington to discuss the issues is this year’s election. The cost is about $5,000 for an eight-day trip that includes talking to farmers, labor leaders and clergy members. While in Washington, the itinerary includes a trip to CNN’s Election Center for an election eve visit with Wolf Blitzer and stops in two D.C. suburbs to talk to voters on Election Day.

“It is not your typical tour,” said Dorothy Button, an Australian who has signed up for the trip. “Observing the political process with a tour as Political Tours offer seems to me to be the only way I can get to the heart of the matter and be there at the time of an election where I can be briefed on the events, as they unfold, by those who have answers.”

Pick your party

Five thousand dollars is also the price of another election-inspired escape, the “Pick Your Party” package offered by the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. The hotel is near the White House and has served as home base for many politicians including presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Theodore Roosevelt.

“Politics is such a huge part of this city that you can’t avoid it, so you might as well have fun with it,” said Keith McClinsey, the hotel’s director of sales.

The fun at the Mayflower includes a night in the red or blue suite, a moonlight limousine tour of the capital’s monuments and a political swag bag.

If the $5,000 price tag is too high, the Mayflower is also offering a “Red, White and You” package starting at $200 per night. It includes a regular guest room, champagne breakfast, valet parking and a collection of politically inspired DVDs for in-room viewing.

All Mayflower guests are offered the “Elect Your Own Turndown” service, in which they can decide what snack will be placed in their room each night.

“All the turndown snacks are based on presidential favorite snacks,” McClinsey said. “Ronald Reagan was famous for liking jelly beans, so you can pick jelly beans for one night.”

Also on the “ballot” are chocolate caramels, a favorite of President Barack Obama’s.

Supporters of candidate Mitt Romney may be disappointed that their candidate’s snack isn’t an option. McClinsey says the snacks offered include only those of U.S. presidents, but he is quick to add that if Romney is elected, his snack, which will probably include peanut butter, may be added to the list.

Commander in sleep

It’s not snacks but sleep that the Loews Annapolis Hotel has its focus on in a “Commander in Sleep” promotion. The hotel is targeting “weary contenders on the campaign trail and travelers” and offering them the opportunity to sleep in.

Aside from a late check-out, this package — starting at $175 a night — includes breakfast and a guided historic stroll. Guests will be offered either a walking tour of the United States Naval Academy or a walking tour of historic Annapolis, Maryland.

Presidential pampering

For those who would rather ride than walk, the Brazilian Court Hotel and Beach Club in Palm Beach, Florida, has a package that includes “motorcade” transportation. (It’s really a private car service for a full day.) Potential guests may need a donation from a super PAC in order to afford this presidential perk; prices start at $2,159 per night.

In addition to the “motorcade,” the price includes luxury accommodations, facials at the spa, cocktails or mocktails in the cafe, and chocolate-covered strawberries. And to “unwind,” guests will be given their choice of Mitt Romney’s “No Apology” or Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Hope.”

Election fatigue

If your idea of unwinding does not include reading works by politicians, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Hotel may have the getaway for you. This hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona, is offering an “Election Fatigue Package.”

“You can elect not to receive the daily newspaper or the TV news stations,” hotel spokeswoman Valerie Lee explains. In order to make sure their guests get away from the political TV ads, this $399-a-night package includes a pool cabana and access to the spa.

Elect to escape

One place where you can turn on the television without having to worry about political ads is at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino. The Renaissance, on the Dutch island of Aruba, is inviting the “election weary to take a post-election break with discounted rates tied directly to presidential polls.”

The “Elect to Escape” promotion offers discounts on rates, starting at $260 per night, which are directly related to the Gallup Election 2012 tracking polls. “If President Obama is attracting support from 54% of voters nationwide, resort rooms at the adult-exclusive Marina Hotel can be booked at a 54% discount on that day. If Mitt Romney surges ahead by 60% the following day, the discount will jump to 60%.”

Pay attention to the polls to get the most out of this deal. “Elect to Escape” rates can be booked through November 5, for stays from November 6 through November 30.The Renaissance Aruba comprises the adult-only Marina Hotel and family-friendly Ocean Suites.

Election protection plan

To get to Aruba, travelers might want to enter JetBlue’s “Election Protection 2012″ sweepstakes. To be considered, travelers must go to the airline’s website and choose this year’s presidential winner or loser. In this case, the winner’s candidate must actually lose the election.

“We’ve all heard the quote from people: ‘If my candidate loses, I’m going to leave the country,’ ” said Marty St. George, JetBlue’s senior vice president of marketing. “We fly to 21 international destinations, so we thought it could be a fun thing to do.”

The airline will choose 1,006 sweepstake winners — whose candidate lost the election — to each receive two one-way tickets to the JetBlue international destination of their choice. (They receive two one-way tickets in case they decide to return to the United States.) The winners obviously won’t be announced until after the November 6 election.

The real winners this election season will be travelers who make the most of an excuse to arrange a relaxing getaway.

Toyota recalls 7.43 million cars

October 10th, 2012 by Mariah

HONG KONG (CNNMoney) — Toyota Motors announced a global recall Wednesday of 7.43 million cars due to a power window problem that poses a fire risk. The automaker said that the driver’s side power window switch on some models may feel “notchy” or sticky during operation. The problem is caused by an uneven application of grease during the switch assembly process, and if commonly available lubricants are applied, a fire could result under some circumstances.

No accidents or deaths have resulted from the problem, the company said.

The recall will affect approximately 2.5 million vehicles in the United States.

An additional 1.4 million units will be recalled in both Europe and China, while 500,000 units in the Middle East, 450,000 in Japan and 650,000 in Australia are also affected.

The global recall includes a variety of models across multiple years — including some Highlander, Matrix, Tundra, Yaris, Corolla, Camry and RAV4 models. The company said it would inform U.S.-based owners of affected vehicles later this month by mail.

Toyota (TM) said the problem will be fixed by disassembling the switch and applying a special grease. The change will be performed at no cost to consumers.

The recall was announced shortly before markets closed in Japan. Toyota shares were down almost 2% on the day, falling to their lowest level since late July.

The recall is the company’s largest since 2009 and 2010, when more than 8 million units were brought in for a potential problem involving sticky accelerator pedals. In that case, dealers were told to suspend sales of eight models, and production of those models stopped temporarily.

American Airlines is losing important customers

October 10th, 2012 by Mariah

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Dogged by ongoing service problems, troubled American Airlines is beginning to lose its most lucrative group of clients — business customers. Overall, the number of passengers flying American Airlines fell 4% in September to 8.3 million, the airline said Monday. The airline was also forced to cut domestic flights by almost 6%.

 

The airline has been struggling with flight delays and cancellations in the wake of pilot anger over their contract situation.

Several business travelers told CNNMoney that their firms are avoiding American flights and won’t be returning any time soon.

“If someone has to be somewhere for a meeting, there’s no way I can take a chance and book American,” said Zalmi Duchman, CEO of TheFreshDiet.com, a daily meal delivery service. He said it’ll take at least two or three months of normal service before he considers using American again.

Jim Angleton, president of AEGIS FinServ Corp, a credit and debit card issuer, said his firm has found alternatives, including greater use of video conferencing, driving more and even private plane charters.

Angleton doesn’t plan on giving American another chance. “Some of my people have gotten really burned by some of the nonsense going on,” he said. “I can’t afford to allow the problems with the airline to affect my business.”

Next month’s results could look even worse, because American’s problems began to surface in the middle of the month. “Most folks had bought their tickets for travel the rest of the month,” said Jeff Kaufman, analyst with Sterne Agee.

Kaufman and other experts agree that it’s tough to win disgruntled customers back once they find alternatives to what had been their preferred carrier.

“In general terms, we’re talking months rather than weeks (to win back lost customers),” said Philip Baggaley, Standard & Poor’s senior credit analyst for airlines.

American has been hit by a high number of canceled flights and delays that pushed its on-time record below 50%. Management attributed these delays to frivolous maintenance complaints by pilots and an increase in pilots calling in sick.

The Allied Pilots Union, which represents flight crews at the airline, denies that there’s any coordinated effort to impede operations. However, it said the pilots are upset because the airline won bankruptcy court approval to throw out the pilots’ existing labor deal. Pilots held informational pickets on Monday.

The airline also had a high profile problem last week when three flights had problems with passenger seats coming loose during flights, forcing it to ground 47 aircraft for inspections.

American Airlines said its revenue per available seat grew 4% in September, which it said was better than competitors such as United Continental (UAL, Fortune 500), US Airways (LCC, Fortune 500) and Delta Air Lines (DAL, Fortune 500). Virasb Vahidi, chief commercial officer for American, said while there were some lost business bookings due to the delays and cancellations, he believes most of those problems and lost revenue are already in the past.

On-time performance has started to improve since APA and management returned to the negotiating table last week.

“As the situation has gotten better, we’re seeing less of that … impact,” he said.

New Review Posted for Buttonville Inn Bed and Breakfast in MI

October 9th, 2012 by Mariah

The following review was added for Inn #12091:

Inn: Buttonville Inn Bed and Breakfast
Innkeeper(s): Ron and Candy
Inn Email: info@buttonvilleinn.com;
E-mail: Anonymous
Date of Stay: 09/14/12
Overall Rating: 4.5
Comments: Beautiful home. Friendly innkeepers. Conveniently located just steps away from modern hike/bike trail. Back-Forty room was nicely decorated with clean, private bath. No TV in room, but one is available in shared main floor area. Delicious breakfast! Ample parking on site with additional trail parking approx. 500 feet away.