Napa County is an Amazing Place to Vacation

With 5 million tourists visiting every year, the only bigger travel destination in California than Napa County is Disneyland. These amazing numbers of people come here mainly to tour the vineyards, but there are many other reasons to spend time in this area. There are an incredible amount of attractions, festivals, restaurants, museums, entertainment, and outdoor activities to enjoy that make Napa County a top U.S. vacation spot. As well, Napa County has many kinds of accommodations including world class resorts, rejuvenating spas, ranches, bed and breakfasts, and time shares for those who want to make Napa County a more frequent place to stay.

Probably the most therapeutic place to visit in Napa County is the City of Calistoga, where you can find various spas that feature hot spring pools and volcanic ash mud baths. Calistoga Spa Hot springs, which is located just off of Main Street, is open to the public and provides four naturally heated mineral pools, along with volcanic ash mud baths, mineral and steam baths, blanket wraps, and massage. Visitors have been coming to Calistoga for spa treatments since the early nineteen hundreds, and many swear that the therapeutic combination of volcanic ash, Canadian peat, and mineral spring submersion is an incredible healing experience.

On a grander scale, Napa county also offers several world class resorts. Settled on a private estate, Meadowood is the center of social and viticultural life for both frequent visitors and residents alike. The luxury of this 250 acre resort is unparalleled in the valley and features championship croquet lawns, seven tennis courts, a nine-hole walking golf course, hiking trails, swimming, a full-service health spa, a wine educator, and many more amenities along with wonderful wine county cuisine. The Silverado Resort, set among the rolling hills of Napa County, offers everything that you would expect from a first class resort including championship golf, spa, fine dining, and a conference center. While both resorts are private and secluded, they are only minutes away from all major attractions and many of the wineries.

Since Napa is also famous for its agriculture, those who want to enjoy it closer up will love the Mountain Home Ranch Resort. This is a bed and breakfast group retreat that offers a different kind of adventure. There aren’t any phones or televisions here at the ranch. What you will find is 300 acres of hiking trails, two swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes, croquet, lake fishing, barbeque pit, and the peace and quiet of the Napa Valley.

For visitors who prefer a more intimate setting when they vacation, Napa County has many high-end bed and breakfasts. The Bel Abri, a fifteen room French Country Inn located in the City of Napa, is designed to make you feel like you are staying in a real chateau. French tapestries, hand crafted furniture, slate floors, and stately wrought iron accents create an ambience that is both warm and luxurious.

As you can imagine, Napa County has many accommodations for every type of traveler that are as diverse as the valley itself. Just remember to book ahead when you are traveling to the Napa Valley, because space is definitely at a premium.

How to Have Celebration of Life Event Instead of a Funeral

A friend or relative has passed away and you have been asked to plan a memorial service. Perhaps your loved one doesn’t belong to a church or the family want a celebration rather than a sad funeral. Or perhaps the person was what is now termed as “spiritual, not religious”. That usually means they believed in God in some form, but didn’t adhere to the religious dictates of any one religion or church.Here are some useful tips and techniques to get started.

There are many ways to honor this life you esteem that are not held in a church per se and are not administered by a church person. The key is the reverence and compassion that goes into the planning, the personal details that are attended to and the respect and love that is present at the celebration. Here are some things to help you think through what you want at a Celebration of Life event. Gather select family members and close friends and think through some of the following.

1. Decide how many people will come

If your loved one had tons of friends and business contacts, then plan on 100 or more. Ask one of his/her business associates what to expect from that aspect of the person’s life. How many relatives will come? If this is a person under age 18 count on many more. If the person is in public life try to estimate how many members of the public may attend. Getting a rough number will help determine the size of the location you will need.

2. Select a place that is warm and inviting

Some ideas for a Celebration of Life event are the same as selecting a place for a wedding. Ideas for outside celebrations include gardens, parks, ocean beaches, national and state parks, and wineries. Inside ideas are large houses, places where dances are held, club houses, bed and breakfast inns, even hotel meeting rooms can be warmed up! Of course that all comes at a cost, but it is convenient. Try to select a space that is not going to packed in, but also not so large that the celebration gets lost in the space.

3. Decide on the date and time.

Selecting a weekend date allows people to come from out-of-town. If the person has asked to be cremated the celebration can be as long as a month or more away. This allows time for preparation, thoughtful reflection, preparation of slide shows, old pictures, etc. All of these take time and add a loving touch. The time of day depends on whether or not you are going to have a sit down or cafeteria-style meal or just hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

4. Get the word out

One way to do this is to go through the person’s email list and send notices. Placing an “ad” in the appropriate newspapers, although it is not inexpensive, is a good way. Lots of people read the obituaries every day. (Call your newspaper to check on their rates.) Set up a phone tree by calling 10 to 20 people from the person’s life (work, relatives, friends, social clubs, neighbors) and ask them to call the people they believe will want to attend.

5. Plan the food

The easiest and least time consuming way to do this is to have a caterer take care of the food. Whether it is hors d’oeuvres or a full meal, the caterer will bring the food, the dishes, the silverware the linens, even the tables, everything needed. At the end of the day, they whisk it all away. However many people find it comforting to have a do-it yourself cooking gathering the day before the celebration and pitch in together to do the preparations. Potlucks are also perfectly appropriate. For generations friends and neighbors have provided the family of the deceased with food. Often we like doing it. It makes us feel we have helped in some way. So don’t hesitate to announce that it is a potluck.

6. Make a Decision About Flowers and Donations

Many people ask attendees, not to bring flowers and to make a donation to a favorite charity of their choosing or one that was a favorite of the deceased. Since a decent bouquet costs over $50 this can be a real boon to the charity.

7. Select Decorations or a Theme

This isn’t always necessary, but since you will want to provide a program of some sort, flower arrangements baskets and note cards for leaving the family condolences or placing cards, you may wish to create a color scheme so that the room looks pulled together. Cream and one other color is often a safe and tasteful choice.

8. Decide On The Contents of The Program

Select someone who is good with computer graphics to do your program. Besides listing who will be speaking or performing, you may wish to include a favorite poem or saying, a prayer or a meaningful graphic or other things appropriate to your person. Think of the person’s nationality, culture, interests for clues on this. A simple cream-colored 81/2 by 11 paper folded over is easy. Depending on your time and resources you may wish to make it more elaborate.

9. Decide Who Will Do What

The day of the celebration you will need the following duties filled by people you can trust to be responsible.

oGreeters:

oMaster or Mistress of Ceremony:

oFour to Six honors or Remembrances:

oOne Person to Circulate So The Attendees Can Speak:

oClean Up Crew:

There are many thoughtful ways to personalize a Celebration Of Life event. One family of an inveterate and voracious reader put all her books out and asked the participants to go through them and take as many as they wished. Those attending found it touching to have such an appropriate remembrance and selected those that had been dog-eared and underlined as well as those that didn’t seem to have been read yet. The family designed a bookmark that matched their programs and had a quote about books on it.

Did your person have a passionate interest, a favorite hobby, or love a certain kind of music or dance? Did he/she have a collection of something that no one in the family wants, but having one piece would be a nice remembrance for the people who helped out? One friend loved scarves and had over thirty scarves and wraps, so they put those out for people.

Many churches go along with the family on informal celebrations and have only a couple prayers, so you don’t have to rule them out. If your loved one was not a regular attendee of the church you will probably be asked to pay rent of some type. But many churches are lovely and give comfort to those who are religious among the family. One more thought. You may not wish to have your Celebration in a church, but you can still ask a minister, spiritual leader or friend to say a prayer.

Plan An Affordable And Problem Free Summer Vacation

Every year literally millions of singles, couples, families and groups of friends go on summer vacations together. Summer vacations are popular, and it’s that popularity that can make planning and booking one a challenge, especially for families and groups of people. The demand for seats on airplanes are limited by demand, as are available accommodations. The demand to attend events or visit tourist attractions can also be affected by the higher demand summer vacationers pose.

There are a number of ways that you can make affordable bookings and reservations.

Obviously the first step to making summer vacation reservations is deciding on a summer vacation destination. When selecting a summer vacation destination, a number of factors need to be taken into consideration. Some of these factors are;

  1. Are you going to be traveling with children and, if so, what are the ages of your children? Not every accommodation provider accepts infants, or even small children. This is especially the case with bed and breakfast operations or guest houses. Not every destination is suitable for children either. Some destinations are focused on honeymooners and couples seeking a place to go for a romantic getaway. While others target young adults seeking adventure or exciting nightlife. Destination catering mainly to adult vacationers offer little in the way of amusements for children.
  2. Costs of airfare and accommodation are generally fixed, but services and amenities are often forgotten until vacationers are in country and being confronted with costly meals, beverages, admittance fees to visit museums, historical sites or other places of interest, souvenirs, and so on. Incidental costs can add up to a significant amount. If you have an overall summer vacation budget you need to stay within, these costs prove a problem.
  3. Do you, or anyone traveling with you have food or other allergies to take into consideration? For example, if you or someone traveling with you is allergic to bee stings, areas famous for flowering gardens isn’t the safest choice for a summer vacation destination.
  4. Do you, or anyone you’ll be traveling with have medical issues that could be exasperated by environmental factors, such as dry air, humidity, dust, elevation, and so on. This writer once worked with a tour operator that allowed an obese man with a heart condition to book himself onto a Nepal tour. He got off the plane, which was not disembarking passengers at a gate, but rather on the tarmac almost 100 meters from the terminal entrance. This is a common practice in many places, and especially at smaller airports. In such cases, passengers are expected to walk to the terminal to collect baggage and clear customs and immigration. The obese man collapsed halfway to the terminal and died shortly thereafter. The elevation, combined with his obesity and existing heart condition was a recipe for disaster, and it came to be.
  5. Do you, or anyone you travel with have mobility issues, such as needing a walking aid or requires a wheel chair? If so, consider the width and surface conditions of sidewalks, accessibility to accommodations for anyone mobily challenged, and pedestrian congestion. You must take into account that mansions and heritage buildings that have been converted to hotels or bed and breakfast accommodations are not likely to have elevators. Many historic sections of European cities are paved with cobble stones, while sidewalks can be very narrow or non-existent. Both make navigation difficult for anyone with a mobility problem. For anyone needing to use a cane, a walker, or who is wheelchair bound, the congestion in market squares or bazaars can be nightmarish, as can the pedestrian traffic in cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Fez, Cairo, etc.

Keeping these factors in mind will enable you to select the summer vacation destination that will best fit your needs and address any limitations you or a travel companion may have.

Once you’ve selected a summer vacation destination you can look for accommodations to book for your stay. A large number of amusement parks, campgrounds and hotels in the USA, Canada and at overseas destinations don’t require reservations. However, it’s advisable to reserve accommodations anyway. Summer vacation periods are short, and the demand is therefore much higher than normal. This can cause available rooms to be filled with vacationing tourists quickly. By making a reservation, you not only assures that you have a room, but that you have accommodations that fit your needs.

When booking a summer vacation, a great many travelers will count on the services of a travel agent. Using a travel agent is more convenient than searching online for vacation packages, calling hotels to negotiate a booking rate, or sourcing your own rental car deal. However, there are two things to remember when using a travel agent to organize you summer vacation:

  1. A travel agent only knows what you tell him or her about your needs. If you research your own summer vacation and make your own accommodation arrangements, you’re unlikely to book yourself into a hotel that can’t cater to the kosher, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc., dietary needs you or someone you’re traveling with requires. Nor would you book yourself into a room with a beautiful view from a 20th floor balcony if you suffer from Acrophobia (a fear of heights). A travel agent may do so if you did not specifically mention these or any other limitations.
  2. Travel agents obviously don’t provide their services for free. Most are paid a percentage of the amount you’ll pay, and many add on a service fee as well. If you’re planning a summer vacation and are on a budget, you may want to book your own flight and make your own reservations. There are two reasons. Firstly, a travel agent will organize your transportation and stay based on what earns them the highest return. This may not be what provides the best service or value to you. Secondly, with very little effort, you can save the portion of a hotel reservation set aside to compensate travel agents and tour operators. Simple research the hotel rates online, then call or email and offer 30% less. It will either be accepted, but if not acceptable the hotel will respond with a quote. It will probably surprise you when you learn what the savings can be. Also, be sure to mention any mobility issues, allergies or special diets that may be relevant before you book. Discounted rooms are not usually entitled to special services without added charges, unless it’s including within the reservation package.

Aside from traveling by car, air travel is a preferred method of travel to reach summer vacation destinations. If you’re booking your own airline reservations, do so online and look for all of the alternatives to get you from point A to B. For example, a direct flight is convenient, but it can be costly if even available. Many departure to destination flights are simply not available because of the need to refuel. In cases where a direct flight is available, a flight with a stop over or two may be half the price. Likewise, for the same price as a direct flight, you can often choose to organize a tour for yourself.

When flying from Vancouver, BC, Canada to Quito, Ecuador, a peak summer season flight is just over CAD$1500 with taxes and surcharges. For the same price you can book a charter tour to Cancun, Mexico, spend a week there, accommodation included. After a week in Cancun you can take the train, a bus or fly to Mexico city. There you can stay a day or two, then fly from Mexico City to Quito, Ecuador. The cost is virtually the same, if not less, and you have an enjoyable tour. The original flight Vancouver to Quito requires at least on stop, most two. So does the alternative Vancouver, Cancun, Mexico City and on to Quito route. The difference is you have a stay in Cancun and Mexico City at no extra cost, rather than wait in an airport for your connecting flight. It takes a lot of searching to find these deals, but they are available. This is because, as the saying in the airline industry, “A plane that takes off with an empty seat lost revenue.” Airlines will do anything to fill every seat, even if that seat sale is drastically discounted.

If your summer vacation is centered on enjoying the outdoors, then you probably want to be camping. Even when planning a camping vacation, you should still make a reservation. Public and private campgrounds are limited as to the amount of camping space they have. By reserving a camping space you’re guaranteed a place to set up your tent or park your RV or trailer.

To book a popular vacation destination at a discount, check out online travel websites. Travel websites offer discounts on popular hotels, airlines and restaurants around the world. There’s a downside to using online discount travel websites though. The travel sites mostly focus on the more popular summer vacation destinations. That said, you can often find a better hotel deal that falls within your budget than you would booking elsewhere, saving nothing but enjoy far greater luxury at the same price.

There is a final, very important consideration to planning and booking your summer vacation flights and hotel reservations. Do your research and book well ahead of your intended departure. Deals on flights are rarely available under 21 days from departure, other than through last minute seat sales. The problem with last minute seat sales is that they’re limited in both availability and usually in the amount of luggage you can bring. This is because the weight luggage would take is allocated to freight, which is actually more profitable for the airlines than transporting passengers. Plus last minute means last minute. You do not want to risk your entire summer vacation on being able to secure last minute seat deals. Likewise, hotels will rarely make deals at the last minute either, unless you show up at the desk at 2:00AM and there are vacancies. Even then, the desk clerk has parameters as to the discounts he or she can give. When you start negotiating for rooms well in advance of your arrival you’re dealing with management, who generally have greater latitude when it comes to granting discounts to secure bookings.

Hilton Garden Inn – Franchise Review

Hilton Garden Inn is a chain of hotels in America that is a trademark of the highly famous Hilton Worldwide. Hilton Garden Inn is reputed as a mid-range hotel suited for guests who are in town on business or as tourists. Most of its hotels are designed as towers with a single-level lobby and bell-desk, lobby seating area, 24 hour restaurant and a convenience store. Standard business center facilities are available and complimentary services for guests include either bed-and-breakfast or breakfast buffet.

Founded in 1996, the hotel entered into franchising partnerships in the same year. In the franchise model, while the hotel property is managed by a person on contract with Hilton, the operations are run by staff trained by Hilton personnel. The person desirous of entering into a franchise relation with Hilton Garden Inn preferably ought to be holding industry experience or general business experience.

In order to be associated with a hotel brand whose name is globally synonymous with classy hospitality, the requisites are a total investment of $112 million, with an initial franchise fee of nearly $60,000 and the royalty fee fixed at 5%. The term of the agreement is generally for 22 years and the renewal fee would be equal to the initial fees for investment. Depending on the nature of agreement, the franchise might be restricted to a single location or permitted to be opened in several countries.

The training necessary for establishing and kick-starting the franchise commences with a three-day course at the Hilton headquarters. It is followed up with another course of owner orientation lasting for three days in California. The ongoing support would consist of dissemination of newsletters with information or advertisements that are dispatched appropriately. Meetings are also organized periodically to monitor the status of the business, to evaluate the progress made and to identify areas of improvement and an action plan for the same.

The opening of the new hotel is given adequate publicity and the various procedures to be followed in case of fire or security threat are circulated as required. Field operations are given initial support and are evaluated so that they can be used as feedback. Liaisons with purchasing co-operatives are established for the benefit of the franchise. The market support is provided in the form of advertisements in the national print media. Regional advertising is also provided to improve local presence.

The first Hilton Garden Inn franchise agreement was entered into in 2008, with the inauguration of the Hilton Garden Inn Liberia Airport in Costa Rica. The key features of the hotel are free a Wi-Fi zone, round-the-clock business centre, garden Sleep System Bed and chairs by Herman Miller, high definition television and large-sized work desk.

A franchise with the world-famous and award-winning Hilton group is bound to result in high returns for both parties and the opportunity of growing better with the best!

When looking to start any business it is important, particularly considering today’s market, that you look for specific ways to cut minimize or reduce overhead and risk. Any business is going to have risk, but it is important to have a full understanding of the amount of investment, startup cost and “ROI” (Return on Investment).

Did you know that 80% of ALL franchise endeavors fail in the first two to five years leaving large debts looming for years thereafter?

You can cut your risk by taking advantage of the new age of entrepreneurship. Opportunities have emerged in the online market that are creating millionaires every single day. Learn more about the exciting opportunities tied to a business model that begins profitable by visiting: http://whatsbetterthanafranchise.com.

San Diego Hotel Deals Guide to Popular Areas and Accommodation Options

No matter when you want to go, there is always accommodation available in San Diego. There are nearly 1,500 hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts, well-appointed health clubs, comfortable motels, hostels, and more lodging options. Whether you’re after budget accommodation or a luxury suite, it’s not hard to find San Diego hotel deals. Internet travel agencies have made it easy to find and compare rates.

Even if you stick with a cheap chain hotel, you’ll still get a clean, comfortable room with amenities such as Wi-Fi, free breakfast, airport shuttle, etc. The luxury hotels are very impressive, whether you want to stay at a beach side resort to a large hotel located in the center of the city. Some of the more popular hotels include the Omni, Hilton Resort and Spa, Paradise Point Resort & Spa, the Grand Hyatt, etc.

If you’re looking for entertainment, you might want to consider staying at the Gaslamp Quarter, as this is the city’s liveliest neighborhood. There is a nice mix of modern-stay structures and Victorian-era buildings. In addition to nice hotels, the area is home to the Padres, cocktail bars, pubs, countless restaurants, shops, museums, etc. You can easily access nearby areas such as the San Diego Zoo via trolley.

Mission Bay is another nice place to stay – especially if you want the boardwalk experience. There is always some type of water activity going on, from fishing to sailing. Some of the San Diego hotel deals typically available in this area include Red Roof Inn, The Dana, La Quinta Inn & Suites, Bahia Resort Hotel, and more.

Downtown is a great place to stay for business travelers. There are modern hotels that offer the technology you need for doing a bit of work from the comfort of your room or the lounge.

San Diego Hotel Deals at the Hotel Circle

There is the infamous Hotel Circle in San Diego, which is a ten minute drive from downtown. As the name suggests, there are many hotels available in this circle, ranging from more economic places like Super 8 and Hotel Iris to more high-end places like DoubleTree by Hilton and Sheraton Mission Valley SD Hotel.

If you’re going with your family, a Sea World vacation package might be worth looking into. When searching for San Diego accommodation, consider one of the dozen or so hotels that is partnered with theme park and offers services such as bus shuttling back and forth. Some are located in the Hotel Circle, some at Mission Bay, and some in the downtown area.

No matter what your plans are or which attractions you want to check out, there are always San Diego hotel deals to find.

Online coupons come in a variety of forms, from mobile promo codes to special web offers. Whether you’re looking for specific San Diego hotel deals or just want to find some savings opportunities, checking online is always the site to go to.

Choosing Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

There are many on line guides available to help you choose bed and breakfast accommodation, whether it is a city location such as a Leicester bed and breakfast that you are looking for, or a quiet retreat deep in the Scottish Highlands.

Some on line guides offer a bespoke booking service, with instant confirmation of your room reservation, as well as offering visitor information on the location or region you will be staying in. Special discounts for on line bookings and late availability discounts for last minute room reservations are also offered. On line guides sometimes offer independent reviews of featured bed and breakfasts, with ratings awarded to different aspects of the accommodation, such as cleanliness, quality of the food, decorations and furniture and the welcome given to guests. After you have finished your stay, you may be invited to provide feedback and this, in turn, will be useful to future prospective visitors.

Bed and breakfast accommodation is a growing area on line for guests to research and find well priced overnight stays. It is also an increasingly popular medium for bed and breakfast owners, as they are able to reach a national and even international market. Formerly, many bed and breakfasts would have remained undiscovered gems, only able to attract local visitors or those able or willing to search out guide books and contact the tourist information facility in the region of their proposed stay. The Internet has changed all that, by providing a world platform to guest houses, inns, farmhouses and many other types of bed and breakfast accommodation.

The great appeal of bed and breakfasts is that they offer a more personal alternative to a hotel, in a relaxed atmosphere. As well as the traditional seaside bed and breakfasts in coastal resorts such as Blackpool, Skegness, Scarborough and Brighton, you can find intimate cosy countryside retreats in beautiful areas such as the Lake District or the Cotswolds. There are also many establishments aiming at the top end of the market and these are situated in towns, villages and countryside alike, meaning that you can experience luxury in, for example, a sleek modern London, Birmingham or Leicester bed and breakfast or in an “old world” environment of a thatched Gloucestershire pub or Shropshire coaching inn.

A stay in a good bed and breakfast should be like a welcoming home away from home. You should feel as relaxed as if you were staying over at a friend’s place. You will get breakfast and sometimes even a packed lunch (usually at an additional charge, although some establishments will fill up your flask with tea or coffee for free). Drying facilities are normally on offer if your bed and breakfast is on a walking trail, so that if you get a soaking (quite likely, given the typical British weather!) your clothes will be dry and ready to wear again the following next day. As most bed and breakfasts are run by the owners themselves, they tend to know a lot about the local area and can be an absolute mine of information. They will know the best pubs, restaurants, shops, walks and excursions and often enjoy sharing their knowledge with their guests.

Alternate Stay Arrangement in Place of Hotels in Brisbane, Australia

Looking for a perfect romantic getaway with your partner in Brisbane, Australia? Or, are you a solo traveller looking to escape from the mundane city life? No matter what the reason, a resort in Brisbane is the best alternative to staying in a hotel. No doubt, it’s the most amazing option to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.

While Australia has plenty of destinations for romantic escapes, Brisbane has retained number one spot for being the top destination for the most fantastic getaways with that special someone. It is an amazing destination that has gained immense popularity for its scenery, outdoor activities and landscape.

You can find a myriad of major reasons why people nowadays are settling for the finest resorts near Brisbane in Australia. It would not be wrong to state the fact that choosing a swanky hotel and allowing your guests to rejoice with you on your partner’s special day has become a cliché. You want to get away from all that noise and chaos. Considering this, settling for a perfect stay at the finest resort in Brisbane, Australia is the least you could do your significant other.

Why Choose Bed & Breakfast (B&B) in Brisbane, Australia?

A stay at a resort accompanied by your other half is worth every cent you’d spend. Prep your favourite snack and enjoy a great rom-com with your beloved. Or, you can cuddle under the covers all morning if you desire. But we can bet you won’t be able to snuggle for hours, as the appetizing aroma of a home-cooked breakfast will get you two out of the bed in no time.

Being an avid traveller, you would have had a lavish stay experience at many hotels. Why not give a try to something unique and different this time? Why not opt for Brisbane bed and breakfast? If you go online and perform a search for the best ‘ Bread and breakfast Brisbane ‘, you can get multiple options offering unmatched B&B services to people like you.

There’s a lot you can do at the B&B resort in Brisbane, Australia, including:

  • take a tour of the organic winery
  • enjoy an extensive organic fruit forest
  • enjoy some facts about bee hives

And many more!

If your beloved’s birthday is round the corner or you’re willing to leave them speechless by the best B&B that will soothe their minds, settle for no less than the B&B resort in Brisbane – a perfect blend of warm hospitality and plush rooms.

Some benefits of choosing a resort in Brisbane, Australia:

  1. Savings – Good B&B resorts near Brisbane help you save money by offering budget-friendly accommodation. In fact, most of the resorts offer great deals on their luxurious rooms.
  2. Convenience – Bed and breakfast resorts offer a very soothing and great environment where you can do whatever you want. Also, they can organize of the nearby sightseeing spots.
  3. Something for Everyone – This is another great benefit offered by a B&B resort in Brisbane, Australia to its guests. The guests can look forward to enjoying a pleasurable experience. It hosts plenty of fun activities for the guests.

You won’t be surrounded by your kith and kin… just the two of you! Know that the B&B lifestyle seems a lot different from what you find in hotels. Although the pace is slower, you can always find something interesting to indulge in – be it learning about the property’s history or giving a touch of discovery to the grounds.

Staying at a resort is the best alternative to a hotel stay. Hands down! It offers a plethora of the most significant benefits that will make great memories.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Boutique Hotels

The lodging industry is one of the oldest businesses to exist in this world. It has been around ever since people started travelling from one place to the other for trade and other purposes. What began as the need of the hour (rest and shelter during long journeys) soon turned into an industry that offered comfort, convenience, even luxury, to their boarders. For example, The Greeks built thermal baths that allowed their guests to rest and recuperate. Romans constructed palatial mansions for travelers, while Caravanserais along the famous Silk Road from Turkey to China offered shelter not just for men but also their beasts.

In the 21st century, hotels have evolved into a flourishing business that has become an inseparable part of the travel industry. The styles range from flamboyant properties to bare-bone youth hostels, and all-inclusive honeymoon resorts to quaint country inns.

However, as competition grew and hotels started offering standard services across the chain, there was need for something innovative in the market. People, tired of impersonal services, started moving towards smaller hotels that offered personalized attention and unique experiences.

And thus was born the darling of the hospitality industry – boutique hotels. Today, they are the most sought after stay option for leisure travellers and the ultimate name in exclusivity. More and more people are choosing to stay in boutique hotels, because they’re almost always guaranteed to have a good time and get great value for their money

Given the popularity they enjoy, it’s worthwhile taking a peek into the fascinating history of boutique hotels and trace their evolution over time.

History of Boutique Hotels

The earliest boutique hotels appeared in the early 1980s, the first two of them being The Blakes Hotel in South Kensington, London, and the Bedford in Union Square, San Francisco. The term ’boutique hotel’, though, appeared much later in 1984, coined by Steve Rubell. He compared his own establishment, Morgans Hotel, to a small boutique, obviously wishing to highlight its exclusivity and set it apart from other hotels that were cropping up everywhere, much like the monolithic department stores.

This is not to say that boutique hotels are a modern invention. There are plenty of documented instances of similar lodging experiences dating back to the 13th century when staging posts were set up for travellers in Mongolia and China.

Here are a few more examples of one-of-a-kind boutique hotels that were popular back in the days:

  • In 1705, César Ritz opened a boutique hotel at Place Vendôme, which earned him high praise from King Edward VII who called him “king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings”.
  • In 1822, Venitian artist Giuseppe Rubino transformed an old palace into a gorgeous hotel and called it “il Rubino”.
  • In 1880, the Sagamore Hotel on Lake George (in the state of New York) became the first to provide electricity in each of its guest rooms, creating no small stir among visitors in those times.
  • In 1900, Edouard Niiermans, known as the ‘architect of palaces’ transformed Emperor Napoléon III’s summer residence – Villa “Eugenie – into a beautiful and niche hotel.
  • In 1919, Barcelona inaugurated a stylish hotel that was equipped with hot and cold water in its bathrooms.

As you can see, there have been numerous occasions throughout the history of the lodging industry when hoteliers applied creativity and offered top-notch services to stay ahead of the competition and offer something extraordinary to their visitors.

Boutique Hotel of the 21st Century – Characteristics that Set It Apart

Today, the term ’boutique hotel’ is used to describe small establishments with around 150 rooms. They are privately owned, or part of a small group of hotels, and are best known for iconic, memorable and, at times, eccentric design themes. The concept of boutique hotels became a trend after hotelier Ian Schrager and French designer Philippe Starck used unique designs to build their hotels. And now, it has become a flourishing industry of its own, complete with unique traits and qualities.

Here’s looking at some of the more important ones.

Size Does Matter

Boutique hotels are generally considered small, but they’re not in the same category as Bed and Breakfast hotels or homestays that have less than 10 rooms. Boutique hotels can have up to 150 rooms, which does make it appear smaller when you compare it to most chain hotels.

However, it is this intimate scale that helps create a home-like ambiance with peace and privacy aplenty. These cozy properties often have a communal “living space” where the guests can sit and interact with each other.

Personality Speaks Volumes

Since boutique hotels are independently owned and not affiliated to any big chain, they are a brand in themselves. They have a distinctive vibe to them that sets them apart from the others. It is their unique personality and absence of cookie cutter solutions that guests find refreshing, thereby drawing more and more people towards boutique hotels.

Design by Desire

Boutique hotels are known for their intriguing interiors, which are very often created by leading designers and architects. Generally speaking, these niche hotels tend to maintain an upmarket look, combining historic elegance with chic details. The décor conveys a progressively forward style and the overall design could range from contemporary and quaint, to homely and artistic. Each guest room is decorated individually, complete with exclusive amenities and upscale linen.

It’s All in the Charm

You know how you walk into a big hotel, but nothing really spectacular or interesting jumps out at you? Boutique hotels will have none of that and the first thing that grabs your attention is their eccentric personality. They are funky, trendy, and offbeat. For instance, the Hotel Monaco in Washington D.C. will bring a goldfish in a bowl to your room, if you don’t have a pet of your own.

Lovely Location

While there aren’t any hard and fast rules about where a boutique hotel should be situated, it’s no coincidence that the best of them have a great location going for them. When designing boutique hotels, most hoteliers choose the hippest and most happening places to set them in. You may even find them in high-end neighborhoods, removed from the hustle and bustle, but still close to the attractions and highlights of the city. Yet another popular choice for boutique hotels would be in areas that are far removed from the city, in the lap of nature and surrounded by lush greenery.

Superb Service

One of the most distinguishing features of boutique hotels is the highly personalized and exclusive services they extend to their guests. The staff is courteous and friendly and is likely to know your name from day one. The hotel provides bespoke luxury amenities, like an extensive pillow menu, custom toiletries, and an array of relaxing spa services. A sumptuous spread of food and drinks menu is also a signature part of a boutique hotel. All these services combined create a top notch and singular experience for the guests.

Delectable Dining Options

Another feature that makes boutique hotels stand apart from other hotels is their significant focus on creating extraordinary restaurants and bars, which are modish and trendy. These hotels make a great reputation for themselves, which is independent of the conventional star ratings. Thanks to their appeal, they’re able to draw crowds not just locally, but also globally.

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why boutique hotels are fast gaining popularity among travellers, who are demanding more than comfort and convenience from their stay options. They want to be surprised, they want to experience something new, something completely different from what the run-of-the-mill hotels offer. In fact, these days, if you’re not staying at a boutique hotel, you’re considered unfashionable.

I don’t mean to imply in any way that hotels are boring or uninspiring. There are excellent hotels all over the world offering out-of-the-world service to their guests. However, boutique hotels break the traditional mold and refuse to be boxed in by regular standards. Offering visitors style, distinction, intimacy, and warmth, they leave guest with an experience they can cherish forever. And isn’t that what hotels set out to do in the first place?

Remaining Relevant – Edging Out Your Competition in the Hotel Industry

Unless they’re historic bed and breakfast inns, most hotels are modern and up-to-date, boasting high speed internet, sound wave alarm clocks and versatile hangers, among other hotel supplies. If you’re like most people who work in hotels and handle the amenities, in some capacity, on a daily basis, after a while you might not notice the details anymore. As with most day-to-day tasks, buying hotel supplies and amenities can become routine especially when you’re tasked with balancing budgetary constraints, style needs and guest preferences. If hotel supplies such as towels, ice buckets and bed spreads become dated, hotels can become dated, too, and get lost amongst the competition.

Hotels that are successful long-term attribute their success, in part, to their ability to remain relevant which means they know themselves and their brand identity. They also know the hotels near them and what makes them stand out. When you think about your hotel, what do people pay for? Is your service exceptional?

Maybe the views are amazing and the hotel supplies and amenities are unique. If luxury and convenience define your business, plush robes and bed linens and complimentary breakfast would be relevant hotel supplies and amenities. To maintain their place among the masses, hotels must keep current with trends to remain competitive and relevant.

Timeliness very likely isn’t a high priority for you or anybody else who works in hotels. However, if hotels want to maintain occupancy rates, attract new business and offer a great overall experience ensuring that everything from the amenities and hotel supplies to the color palettes and furniture are current and inviting is paramount. Have you ever gotten a room in a modern hotel and, upon walking into the room itself, felt like you traveled in time back to the early 1990s or worse, and it’s not a historic hotel? While it might not affect the visit, most people think less of hotels that are dated, especially when the amenities, hotel supplies and conveniences one would expect are either not offered or unavailable during their stay.

Whether you’re working for an eclectic bed and breakfast or a posh spa resort, conveying value to your guests is important. Quality amenities and hotel supplies, amazing views, superb locations and complimentary meals or snacks all convey the “we’re trying to maximize your dollar” message. It’s important, especially when consumers of every stripe are counting their pennies and paying more attention to what they’re getting for their money than ever before. While hotel supplies and amenities are important components of hotels, they aren’t everything. The cleanliness of your hotel, a responsive staff, spacious guest rooms and modern furnishings all play important roles in the overall guest experience.

Being and remaining competitive in the hospitality industry is no small feat. Maintaining your edge by providing quality hotel supplies and amenities helps you as the competition among hotels is stiff almost everywhere. When people feel like their opinion matters, when they see updated fixtures, renovations that modernize hotels and high quality hotel supplies, they know they’ve been heard which typically translates into more business for you. That said, focused on details though you might be, it’s important that those same details remain fresh and relevant to both guest and hotel alike.

What Is An Inn?

An inn is an old fashioned term for a place where travelers seek lodgings for a night. It goes back quite a bit in time where inns were first established thousands of years ago as the Roman’s built their road system. They figured that people using those roads would also need somewhere to stay along the way on long journeys and the inn as we know it was born.

Back then, an inn was a place where you could rest, and also somewhere that you could get food. They had stables in the back for your horses to stay and instead of there being a lobby like we see in hotels these days, back then, you would have to knock on the door and the owner of the establishment, the innkeeper would answer the door and see if you were suitable to be allowed entry.

As we became more industrialized, more inns began to spring up, but they followed closely the routes of the transportation of the time. That is, if guests would be traveling by stagecoach, the inns would be on main roads that were frequented by the stagecoaches on their routes. When trains became the norm, they would only stop at select places along a route, and that is where you would find inns. People would get off the train and need somewhere close to the station to stay.

Today, with everyone owning a car or two, and freeways the popular way to travel, what do you see at most exits on the highways? That’s right, they are full of hotels of every description. The same philosophy holds true like it did all those years ago, inns, hotels, motels and even bed and breakfast establishments need to be where the travelers will be.

Nowadays of course, the word inn is sometimes just a part of a hotel company’s name, other times they don’t use the word at all, but instead are known as motels or hotels depending on the level of service they provide. Gone are the stables and instead we see parking lots for our ‘horses’. While it may have changed a bit, the main idea has stayed the same for centuries.

Some country pubs in Europe are still called inns as they always have been. They are more just a place to grab a drink with friends rather than to stay, but the history remains the same.