Tag Archives: travel

Traveler: Best of the World

This is a great list for arm-chair travelers, but also for the travelers that ….. drag luggage, battle airport delay and with passports in hand head out to explore. For 5 years National Geographic Traveler has made a list…. and I have enjoyed reading through each entry. If you want the descriptions and pictures (of course you do!), I’d suggest getting a December/January 2016 copy to peruse!

  1. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – fire, lava, glowing hot vistas.
  2. Uruguay, South America – beaches, upscale hotels, history, and a calm vibe compared to neighboring countries.
  3. New York City – bold skyscrapers, museums, theater and stage shows, rooftop gardens, hidden spots and more.
  4. Masurian Lake District, Poland – boating, fishing to be sure, but also wild mushrooms, nature reserves (no boats) and quiet towns.
  5. San Diego, CA / Tijuana, MX – 17 miles between, go  from one to the other, tourism, museums, art studios, parks and sandy beaches galore.
  6. Greenland – watch the aurora borealis, stay in villages, rocky shores, experience fjords, see whales, enjoy skiing, ice hockey, and the 2016 Artic Games.
  7. Glasgow, Scotland – 45 mile west of Edinburgh, music, bagpipers too, art, museums and history.
  8. Tangier and Smith Islands, Chesapeake Bay – History, local food, First mapped by Captain John Smith in 1608, their own dialect, arrive by Ferry from VA / MD.
  9. South Georgia Island – King Penguins more penguins than you can imagine, seal pups, 2 ton elephant seals, and it’s a 5 day cruise from Ushuaia.
  10. Capability Brown’s Gardens, Britain – a 300 year old grand country estate, vast lawns, paths, views, lakes…. just waiting for Jane Austen.
  11. Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil – glorious sand beaches, 3 hours by air north of Rio de Janeiro, food, music, handcrafts and zabumba drums.
  12. Winnipeg, Canada – a prairie town in the middle of Canada, bustling 30 block Exchange District has everything. Add skating and a frozen Red River during the winter.
  13. Seychelles – 1100 miles off Kenya’s east coast,  the 115 islands are lush and tropical, complete with nature reserves and unique endemic speicies, its a tropical haven.
  14. Philippines – 7,107 islands in this nation, only 2000 are inhabited. Rich with speices of fish, coral, there are wildlife sanctuaries to visit. Filipino cuisine, spanish churches too.
  15. Danube River – the main throughfare through central and eastern Europe for thousands of years, Gothic churches, history on every corner.
  16. Okavango Delta, Botswana – Elephants, lion, buffalo, leopard, rhinoceros and so much water and lush vegetation until it all evaportates in the Kalahari Desert 200 miles away.
  17. Bermuda – a British Territory with an ocean going focus, it’ll host the 2017 America’s Cup.
  18. Eastern Bhutan – the last remaining Buddhist Himalayan region, history and archetecture, remote and untouristed, textiles, home-stays, mountain peaks and spicy food.
  19. Cote d’Or, Burgundy, France – vineyards planted by the Romans, wine is cherished here, bicycle through the hotels, vineyards and flat landscapes.
  20. Hokkado, Japan – light powder snow and great skiing, the northern most island. Natural hot baths will warm you up!

Sharing, Good for All

Toward a Sharing Economy” in the Green America magazine highlights some of my favorite sharing methods and groups.
Check out these:
Car-sharing: Zipcar, Chicago’s I-Go
Bike sharing: I love this, and I see it all over the SF Bay Area  (the bicycle coalition). There are also amazing groups of volunteers that collect and refurbish old unwanted bikes and give them away.
Crowdfunding: IndieGogo and Kickstarter, with many other local groups. Another essential part of this is loan funding for seed capital from small groups. (It’s a great experience – see Luke’s Toy Factory.)
Free Software Movement: The GNU General Public License, the free LINUX operating system and great efforts by small groups to teach and share knowledge.
Creative Commons: photo sharing, art sharing even necktie sharing. You can have it all, give it away, get some more, enjoy a community of sharing.
Homes, vacations, rentals: This is a fun and lively option, AirBnB and also HomeAway makes it easy. More formal than couch surfing but still a good adventure

Clean the World!


Initiative with Clean the World Helps Prevent Hygiene-Related Illnesses and Deaths

Irvine, CA (April 21, 2014) – About one million partly-used bars of soap are disposed of daily by U.S. hotels. With worldwide Earth Day celebrations on the horizon for April 22nd, this month marks the time of year to think about the ways individuals and companies can be less wasteful and more environmentally friendly.

Pacifica Hotels, the largest owner and operator of boutique hotels on the Pacific Coast, keeps this notion top of mind throughout the year. In a partnership with Clean the World, Pacifica Hotels donates partially used bars of soap and bath products to be repurposed and donated to impoverished areas.  The initiative, which has yielded 5,000 pounds of soap and shampoo collected from 20 Pacifica properties, serves to reduce waste, share resources and impact communities in need.

“Clean the World is a fantastic organization with a great mission,” said Pacifica Hotels’ President Matt Marquis. “They make it easy for us to help with their recycling initiative to donate products to impoverished people who desperately need them to prevent hygiene-related illnesses and deaths. This is one significant way we are curtailing waste from our hotels, and it’s an important one.”


How it works:

1.    Clean the World sends containers to each of Pacifica’s 20 participating properties.

2.    The containers are marked for soap or shampoo products, and bins are picked up    weekly.

3.    Soap is taken to Clean the World’s Soap Recycling plant, where it is then put through a sanitization process.

4.    Slightly used bars are soaked in a sanitation solution and then ground down into soap noodles and fed through a soap press to produce brand new bars of soap. The soap is then tested for its PH level and cooled for packaging.

5.    Tri-Tech Laboratories then tests the soap for sterilizations levels and eliminates all pathogens: listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli, pseudomonas aeruginosa, salmonella typhimurium and staphylococcus aureus.

6.    Products are then donated to impoverished people to prevent the millions of deaths caused by hygiene-related illnesses every day.

Clean the World Foundation Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to reducing the waste created by discarded soap and shampoo products and preventing the millions of deaths caused by hygiene-related illnesses around the world.  Clean the World accomplishes its mission by collecting, recycling, and distributing discarded soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and lotions and gels from participating hospitality partners. Clean the World recycles guest room hygiene items at its Recycling Operations Center (ROC) and distributes them for humanitarian purposes with partnering nonprofit organizations. The items are distributed domestically and to children and families in communities around the globe.

For more information about Clean the World, visit http://www.cleantheworld.org/.For more information about Pacifica Hotels, visit http://www.pacificahotels.com/about/cleantheworld.

About Pacifica Hotels

Pacifica Hotels was formed in January of 1993 to consolidate the hospitality operations of Invest West Financial Corporation, which has been involved in the acquisition, development, refurbishing and operating of quality hotel properties and other commercial real estate properties for almost 30 years. Today, Pacifica Hotels is the largest owner and operator of boutique hotels on the Pacific coast. Pacifica’s 24 independent and flag properties in key California cities from San Diego to San Francisco, as well as Hawaii and Florida, feature outstanding locations, AAA 3-diamond ratings, upgraded amenities and high standards of guest service. For complete hotel descriptions and reservations, visit www.pacificahotels.com.

The Wyndham New Yorker Honors Earth Day!

New York, NY (April 22, 2014) – The famed Wyndham New Yorker Hotel has made tremendous strides over the past several years to support its eco-friendly initiatives. In honor of Earth Day, the iconic hotel is recommitting itself to upholding these standards in an effort to preserve the environment.
As the hotel embarks on a fresh look with the rollout of a five-year, multi-million dollar renovation that will modernize the 912-room property, it will continue to purchase energy produced by green power like Solar, Hydro or Wind Power. The hotel also buys carbon credits to offset the energy they purchase, which is produced by burning fossil fuels. The ownership and management of the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel made eco-consciousness a high priority and value being an integral part of making the environment a cleaner and safer place.In addition to the hotel’s energy saving initiatives, the Wyndham New Yorker has partnered with Great Forest to process its solid waste stream. In 2013, the hotel diverted 343 tons/82 percent of its solid waste stream away from landfills, saving 953 trees; 112 barrels of oil; 392,350 gallons of water; and 229,805 kWh of electricity. Then Wyndham New Yorker Hotel has also received various certificates on behalf of their green initiatives, including the C-Neutral Certificate for supporting carbon reduction projects and the Renewable Energy Certificate for supporting renewable energy sources through green purchases. The Wyndham New Yorker Hotel is preparing to install a modern Co-Generation system which will generate all electrical power on site using clean natural gas while utilizing the waste heat for heating and cooling. This will be state-of-the-art in energy efficiency and will provide power that will remain available even in the event of a blackout.For guests staying at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel, wasting unused soap is no longer an issue, as the property sends it to impoverished areas around to world, providing those in need with hygienic toiletries. The hotel holds of the title of being #1 in recycling guestroom soaps for use in developing countries, an award designated by Clean the World.

Located in Midtown Manhattan, The Wyndham New Yorker Hotel has welcomed famous entertainers since opening its doors in 1930 and is still known today as one of the city’s most iconic hotels.  The hotel features five different types of accommodations designed to meet the needs of groups, business travelers and those seeking great value combined with an unrivaled location in the heart of Manhattan.

Wyndham New Yorker Hotel - 481 8th Avenue & 34th Street, New York City, New York 10001For more information or to make a reservation, visit www.NewYorkerHotel.com or call (866) 800-3088

About The Wyndham New Yorker Hotel
Conveniently located across the street from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden and just steps from the Jacob Javits Convention, the New Yorker Hotel is well-suited for groups, business and leisure travelers, as well as anyone seeking a great value in an unrivaled location in Manhattan. The hotel features 912 guest rooms, 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, an award-winning catering department, the 24-hour Tick Tock Diner and Cooper’s Tavern as well as Sky Lounge, located on the 39th floor, it offers unprecedented views of the New York City skyline.  The hotel boasts a complimentary Fitness Center and a fully-equipped Business Center. Most recently, the property was awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for providing outstanding service in addition to being named “Favorite Family Friendly NYC Hotel” by About.com.  An iconic part of the New York City skyline, The New Yorker Hotel has had numerous notable guests such as former President John F. Kennedy, boxer Muhammad Ali, Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson, New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio, and inventor Nikola Tesla, who lived at the hotel for ten years.


TLC for Florida Keys with Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel

MARATHON, Florida Keys — An innovative “pay it forward” program allows guests of Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel and Resort in Marathon the option to donate $1 per night during their stay to the Coral Restoration Foundation in Key Largo, whose replanting efforts are helping grow new corals along the Middle Keys’ reef system.

When we LOVE something we need to take care of it! Right? Encourage guests of the Keys Hotels to “get involved” and protect a beautiful area. — the editor

A recent addition to Marathon’s accommodations offerings, the family-owned hotel has pledged to match guest donations and 100 percent of monthly contributions are donated directly to CRF. The Glunz family launched the partnership with CRF in the form of a $10,000 donation.

Efforts began when 400 staghorn corals were planted approximately two miles off the shoreline of the resort, a site that has been dubbed “Glunz Reef” locally, although the name is not included on any nautical charts of the area.

Part of the resort’s overall philosophy is to reduce its carbon footprint as much as possible.

“We believe in saving our waters for future fishing and these habitats are vital to the health of the ocean and its marine life,” said Chrysse Langley, the resort’s general manager. “We are very low key, but offer the opportunity to every guest to participate.”

More replanting projects are planned this spring and summer at the Middle Keys reef site. Local and visiting volunteers who are certified divers are welcome to assist in the program. Interested divers can contact the Coral Restoration Foundation Education Center at 305-453-7030.

Led by CRF’s founder and director Ken Nedimyer, marine scientists at the Key Largo nonprofit have been successful at re-establishing sexually mature coral colonies that can reproduce and repopulate Keys reefs. To learn more about the Coral Restoration Foundation’s efforts, visitwww.coralrestoration.org.

Located at 351 East Ocean Drive in Marathon’s Key Colony Beach, Glunz Ocean Beach Hotel and Resort celebrated its grand opening in early 2014. The reopening following two years of extensive renovations to rooms and suites as well as a heated pool, private beach, fitness room and more. For more details about the hotel, visit glunzoceanbeachhotel.com.

Chelsea’s Draycott Hotel Pushes to Become London’s Most Eco-friendly Boutique Hotel

New York, NY – January 7, 2014 – The Draycott Hotel has launched an initiative to become London’s most eco-friendly boutique hotel. The main focus of their efforts is a recycling initiative and the “Keen to be Green” program, a unique CO2-free way to explore London, exclusively accessible to guests and staff of the Draycott.


The program maps out handpicked routes to explore London via walking, cycling or use of public transportation. Green tours at the Draycott Hotel feature guided walking organizations such as Ramblers, Blue Badge Guides and London’s award-winning signature walking tour company, London Walks. Unguided tours with walking maps and cycling tours with cycle routes are also available 24 hours a day, all year round.

Isn’t this a lovely competition? The bar is being raised by the Draycott Hotel. A walking tour company is available, bicycles, considered technology use, energy conservation, encouraging the use of mass transit — this is phenomenal!  Wouldn’t this be a lovely, happy, eco-friendly place to stay?!— the editor

Part of The Draycott Hotel’s “Keen to be Green” initiative encourages staff of the hotel to take part in CO2-free travel by participating in the “Barclays Cycle Superhighways Workplace” scheme which promotes safe use of bicycles and raises awareness of sustainable business practices. Draycott General Manager Melissa Stoman said of the program, “We recognize the impact our business has on the environment and are committed to operating in a sustainable manner. We have worked extremely hard over the past few years in this pioneering field and we are thrilled to have our staff on board as well.”

The Draycott’s efforts have recently been celebrated at the Green Tourism for London Scheme. They received a gold award for “Good Practice Throughout” which is the highest classification for the program that rates hotels based on over 150 indicators of good sustainable practices.

The Draycott has also been commended for their recycling initiative, which includes innovative in-room recycling bins that are both practical as well as suited to the luxurious style of the rooms. In addition, The Draycott exceeded previous recycling efforts by switching to 100% recycled paper and installing a new printing infrastructure, which decreased paper use by over 30%.

To ensure the hotel’s continual advancement, The Draycott has become a member of the Considerate Hoteliers Association whose vision is “to encourage the adoption of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable policies.”

The five star eco-friendly hotel was also a finalist in AA’s “Eco Hotel of the Year” and the Considerate Hoteliers’ “Hotel of the Year” awards. Each organization supports hotels with sustainable policies and practices. The Draycott recognizes the impact their business has on the environment, and are committed to conducting business in a way that ensures environmental sustainability, while maintaining the comfort and luxury its guests deserve.

More information is available at: http://www.draycotthotel.com/default.aspx?pg=responsibilities

About The Draycott Hotel

The Draycott Hotel is a romantic town house hotel just around the corner from Chelsea’s Sloane Square and Kensington. Occupying three restored red brick Edwardian homes, the property evokes old world elegance and charm in a supreme London location. There are 35 rooms in theDraycott Hotel, many of which have their own fireplace and garden view. A warm staff and thoughtful personal touches make the Draycott an indulgent and luxurious “home away from home.” www.draycotthotel.com

Inquiries and reservations can be made through:

The Draycott Hotel, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7730 6466

Email: reservations@draycotthotel.comwww.draycotthotel.com


Green Hotels, New Report

More Business Travellers Opting For Green-Certified Hotels

 According to a new report from Timetric, an increasing number of business travellers are opting for green-certified hotels in an effort to curb the impact of their frequent travelling.


Business travellers are increasingly prioritising green-certified hotels, according to a new survey by market research firm Timetric. According to its Global Business Traveler Survey 2013 report, 47% of respondents confirmed that it is ‘important’ for them to stay in green-certified hotels during business trips. 7% of the respondents consider green certifications to be an ‘extremely important’ factor in their choice of hotel.How hotels are going greenSurvey results show that for a hotel to be considered green, respondents consider ‘low-energy light bulbs’ and ‘reduced use of plastic materials’ to be the main sustainability facilities that hotels should adopt. ‘Solar-energy water heating’ was another important factor, particularly for respondents in the Asia-Pacific region. Respondents from companies operating in North America and Europe consider ‘timer lighting systems’ and ‘post-consumer recycled paper products’ as important actions to be undertaken by hotels. Hotel chains are also implementing measures to curtail plastic waste generation.Bali’s hotels set an example

According to the Timetric research, the Bali Hotels Association (BHA) was successful in reducing the use of plastic in 2012 with the introduction of its ‘Say No to Disposable Plastics’ campaign. A total of 30 participating hotels within the Island were successful in attaining average reduction in plastic use by 23%. A senior executive from the association said: “When we launched this program in April 2011, our aim was to see an overall reduction of 20%. The fact that we have exceeded this is testament to our members’ commitment to preserving Bali’s natural heritage, both as a tourism destination and for its inhabitants.”

Realising the increasing customer preference for green hotels, several hotel chains have started to invest in obtaining green certification and in reducing their carbon footprint.

The Timetric report; ‘Global Business Traveler Survey 2013: Hotel Accommodation, Selection Criteria and Customer Expectations of New Technology, Promotions and Services was published on the 26th July 2013.

SF Bay Area Locals: I have asked for information on US / Local green hotels. We’ll see what information this group shares with us. I have a few suggestions: You might want to check out the hotel at the Presidio, not only is it in a beautiful place filled with history and views of the Golden Gate Bridge, but it is in an area that feels calm and lovely. You can hike the trails and walk up grassy slopes or down to Crissy Field. It is a beautiful part of the city.

In the Sacramento area, the Arden Acres Cottages get high marks with many people staying longer than they were expecting because it is wonderful –they are a welcome addition for the CA Capital area.  –editor

Sierra Club Internships for 2013

An amazing way to learn and experience:

New for 2013, the Sierra Club is making it possible for two young adults to spend the summer enjoying, exploring, and protecting the planet! From historic climate rallies and high-adrenaline outdoor adventures to student leadership gatherings and celebrity experiences in nature, two outdoor enthusiasts will get VIP access to go inside America’s most effective grassroots environmental organization.

The Best Internship on Earth is the opportunity for 2 young adults travel around the country with Sierra Club’s outings and activist programs, and document these adventures for the Sierra Club (while each enjoying $1,000 worth of merchandise from The North Face!). This is a paid position, uniting young adults with a passion for the environment with community outreach programs that focus on outdoor experiences.

The release below details last year’s adventures (Leadership training in Puerto Rico! Backpacking in the San Jacinto Mountains!), and information about applying for this summer. (And, check out this action-packed video!)

If you know anyone that is passionate about the outdoors and looking for an adventure this summer, please send them to www.sierraclub.org/bestinternship.

Fresh Air and Farm Life

Do you want to learn the food biz from the roots up? Or maybe an interesting vacation is your motivation….. here it is!

TRY a WWOOF vacation on a farm.
farmers market

Take a look at the WWOOF -Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which was conceived in the UK in 1971. This is an International network of organic forms located in 50 countries. The farmers offer room and board to volunteers who offer their labor in exchange.

There is a small fee to join the network. The farm chores are varied, you could be in the garden, orchards, working with animals for a few days or weeks. What a collaborative way to learn and help!