Shangri La Hotels has announced that they're rebranding their "Traders" properties as "Hotel Jen." "Jen" is a fictional persona, "who loves life, travel and the adventure of discovering new places.”
Traders Hotels in Manila, Beijing, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Johor Bahru, Maldives, Penange, Shenyang and Singapore are going to get the re-brand first.
We think Shangri La should approach Jen Aniston as its real life counterpart to "Jen" the fictional travel lover.
With that punim slapped on their advertising, who wouldn't want to book a stay at a "Jen" hotel?
A recent outing to the Finger Lakes took us to the Seward House, a treasure-trove of Lincoln-era history dedicated to the Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln, William Seward. Seward is also known as the "Seward's Folly" Seward for buying Alaska (not seen as such a folly now!).
Seward was a central character in the Spielberg film, Lincoln. Played by David Strathairn, he is very much part of the "Team of Rivals" that formed the basis of the Doris Kearns Goodwin book that Spielberg and screenwriter, Tony Kushner used to craft the film's narrative.
We found out on our visit to the Seward House Museum in Auburn, New York that Strathairn came here to research his character. What he found was a completely intact American Civil War-era home, including a basement which Seward and his family used as a stop on the underground railway. Seward was also a friend of Harriet Tubman and helped her get funds for her own Finger Lakes-area home, which is also now a museum.
Although the moral center of the film is very much Tommy Lee Jones' character Thaddeus Stevens, we found out that Strathairn's Seward was a major part of abolitionist history (he even had a portrait of John Brown on his wall).
The Museum also includes treasures like flowers pressed by Seward that were in Lincoln's coffin, given to him by Mary Todd Lincoln and the bloody sheets that Seward was lying on when he suffered a knife attack at the hands of one of the Lincoln conspirators.
Spielberg and history fans will want to spend at least a few hours pouring over the objects and documents here and soaking in the atmosphere that inspired Strathairn's great ensemble performance amidst his other Team of Rivals team-mates.
Plan your Spielberg-inspired trip back in time at www.Iloveny.com
(Section Sponsored by MedjetAssist)
As the Ebola crisis has more and more travelers aware of health concerns during international flights, we asked John F. Gobbels, VP and transport expert of MedjetAssist (the premier global air-medical transport membership program for travelers; a supplement to travel insurance) to address a lesser (but equally critical) issue that has been on the front pages recently.
Newly released studies on airline seats, seat backs, and tray tables show that alarming amounts of potentially illness-bearing pathogens can live for a long time in flight.
The study, conducted by Auburn University on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), found that MRSA germs can survive for up to 168 hours on cloth seatback pouches. E. coli (which can cause urinary tract infections and food poisoning) lives up to 96 hours on armrests, 72 hours on tray tables, and for two whole days on airline toilets.
Gobbels says that Medjet has found this first-line of infection to be a critical one to stop before it gets started.
“You’d be surprised at how many of our members have started out with simple issues like diarrhea or stomach flu, which may have initially come from contact with germs like this in flight,” he says.
“Once they landed and got sicker, the issue escalated and they required our service (air-medical transport to a home hospital) but their illnesses may have been preventable with some simple steps.”
Gobbels advises travelers to use antiseptic wipes. “Open up those individual packages and wipe down everything you can in front of you,” he says. “The tray table, the seat arms and even the seat belt.”
Gobbels says that this simple step can make the difference between a healthy trip and a costly—and potentially life-threatening—detour.
Two new films are showing two very different side of La Belle France. As Above, So Below looks like it's going to give Hostel a run for its money for movies-that-make-you-not-want-to-go-to-Europe. The other is the cute and comfy, Hundred-Foot Journey that qualifies as travelandfoodporn of the Lasse Hallström variety (you remember Chocolat?). So which would you choose? Ghouls and gremlins in the catacombs or a mouthful of sweeter-than-stevia South of France?
Giving a whole new meaning to the Britishism "twee" (meaning so cute you want to throw up), British Airways is debuting a new puppies and kittens entertainment channel onboard called "Paws & Relax." Have you thrown up yet? Excited?
Execs in their YouTube video say the images will quell the racing heartbeats of stressed out passengers.
If they really want to send flyers into a coma state of bliss, why not show them episodes of "Kipper"? Kipper, if you're not already a fan, is a Brit animated comedy with the most heart-grinding-to-a-stop low key puppy ever.
Kipper is like the Vicodin of cute. BA execs, how about adopting him as your mascot?
As Outlander fans know, Claire Randall sterilizes the wound of young Jaime, a Jacobite fighter in the first episode of the show (and in the books, of course).
On Saturday on my ongoing Outlander field trip with VisitScotland we paid a call to Roddy MacRae a historical interpreter at the Highland Folk Museum.
Roddy told me that the Highlanders would indeed not have known what "germs" were, but they might have known enough to douse their wounds with whiskey. Water sources were often not to be trusted and people drank milk, whiskey, heather beer and other beverages but hardly ever plain water.
Stay tuned for more Highlander trivia along the Outlander trail.
On VisitScotland's Outlander press trip, day two.
Yesterday we went to the Innerpeffray Library at the edge of the Highlands: one of the oldest libraries in the world.
There we met Lara Haggarty, a slender gamine-like lady with a huge passion for books. She is one of a long line of Keepers of the Books in one of the oldest lending libraries in the world.
Lara opened up volumes for me to look at that dealt with witchcraft and demonology. One was a treatise that said, in essence, "You people have to get real, there are no witches." Another was a book by King James himself that he wrote as a reply to the first called "Demonologie," basically saying, "Hell yeah, there are witches. And demons too!"
Then Lara took down a book with an illustration of MacBeth's witches--written about 100 years before Shakespeare. A book lover's dream. Diana Galbaldon take note!
All this week I will be posting field notes from Visit Scotland's Outlander media trip. We're just arising on a beautiful Friday morning in Edinburgh at the Malmaison Hotel. Out my window I can see green hills, the Firth of Forth and the ancient buildings of the city in that marvelous honey-grey granite color.
We'll be traveling to the magic standing stones that took Claire to Jaime and unravelling other mysteries of the Highlands and more for fans of the series and the books so stay tuned!
We also hear that Visit Scotland is unveiling its own Outlander travel page today so visit the website above for a preview of what people say is going to be the Game of Thrones of Scotland.