As winter comes to a close (at least in roasty-toasty SoCal) we take this opportunity to recap a few of the biggest travel faux pas we’ve run into recently…
1. Resort fees are back with a vengeance in places like Booking.com, Expedia and at numerous hotels themselves that call them what you will simply are not resorts. Case in point, New York City: if you are a hotel anywhere in the five boroughs of Gotham, you are a resort like Justin Bieber is a singer. The once fashionable Paramount, where many rooms seem optimized less for men than for Munchkins, is a case in point (though lately they’ve taken to calling it a “property service charge“). Here’s how it works: you go to make a reservation because the Mandarin Oriental was booked and the invite to Trump Tower fell through, you’re not about to Hampton Inn it so you get ready to scoop up a modestly attractive deal at the Paramount, and the latter misleadingly implies it is somehow intrinsically worthy of slapping on a ridiculous, patently specious fee and gobbles up an additional $27.22 that you could have given to save tigers in some forgotten corner of the world where there are still a few tigers but at least no gosh dang resort fees. One travel magazine is on to this scam, and we encourage travelers to tweet-slap the probably useless anyway FTC with hotel-specific complaints early and often. Do your part for America by doing your part to end this terrible price-gouging practice now. (really, I don’t need your clicks. Do it now.)
2. Hyatt Hotels, never much of a leader in hotel innovation, is nevertheless leading the charge in the American social malady of the moment, which is to say the fetishizing of diversity in the service of their bottom line. There we were watching our new breakfast video when Hyatt’s inane #worldofunderstanding ad comes trolling across our screen: in the first few seconds we see two strangers on a bus, one clad in the dark garb of oppression and the other white, female and not dressed thusly and therefore ostensibly racist until, wowsa! a few seconds later we see the world is maybe not so racist after all. We’d sit through more but the music is so godawful and the message so unremittingly cloying, we really couldn’t bear it. Hyatt, until you fire your ad agency, we’ll book at W, shukraan.
3. You know you were thinking it and if you weren’t then you are too easily awed, and may even buy your olive oil at Eataly. But here it is: Banksy’s little hotel in the Palestinian territories, the Walled Off, would be much better as a pop-up. As it is, putting the spotlight mainly on Banksy, the facility is less publicity stunt than political statement and if not openly anti-Semitic, certainly anti-Israel, which is basically British for anti-Semitic. Book a room here instead.
4. America the Stupid, Part I: Thumb through an issue of the Costco Connection lately? The March one features a story by oleaginous veteran travel (cough) writer Peter Greenberg telling Costco shoppers that Europe is full of old things and sometimes if you go there you might even see some of them.
5. After several weeks outside the borders of (what’s this country called again?) we were shocked to find that Amtrak still exists.
6. Disappointed to find on our recent flight on Norwegian Airlines that the fun blankets by Moods of Norway had gone missing. Here’s hoping they bring them back.
7. Puzzled that seats in economy class (in any airline) still cost money. After enduring the parade of small indignities that define the “basic economy” experience, seems the airlines should be cutting those checks for you, no?
8. Hotels can put the brakes on drone photography to sell themselves any time now. If you’re in travel marketing and think you need a drone to make your property look interesting, you probably also think an animal isn’t worthy unless it has wings. Revise thinking, please, because we’re tired of all those aerials.
9. We were excited about the Faena Hotel Miami Beach, until we saw what people had to say about attitude problems. Cannot recommend.
11. Is there anything more hackneyed than use of the word inspired? Case in point, the hot content fry-up at About.com. Ya find listicles inspiring? Ok then, you’ll be inspired. But at this point they just have us reaching for aspirin. Websites like About.com have long turned weaponization of mediocrity into an art form (well ok, more of a craft) but even some high-minded British mags are getting in on this crass act. The cheek!
11. Best of the next-gen in-flight magazines? Word up for (oh and this is actually not a faux pas) KLM’s fetching Holland Herald: bright, light, informative, chunky but not too thick and very on-message, it’s the perfect page-turner at 30,000 feet (or when stuck on the tarmac at LAX). Go KLM, Go Dutch!