Expert Travel Reviews

Culture Tripping

May 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

The latest issue of T Magazine pegs “culture tripping” as the new trend in travel. The story goes that those who can still afford to travel are attempting to assuage their guilt by infusing their odysseys with cultural significance. Pinacoteca Founder Anna Di Stasi tells the magazine, “It’s not about luxury anymore. Everything is cyclical, and slowly we’ll come back to the point of acceptance of the ‘L word,’ but for now it’s about the experience you take away with you.” Culture tripping reportedly is popular with families especially, who want their children to gain “enlightening experiences.”

Before you write off culture tripping as just another bourgeois exercise, however, be aware that it’s not just about immodest guilt. For some people, culture tripping is more about “shaking things up” and seeking authentic experiences for an emotional/spiritual recharge rather than making nice with those outside of the Fortune 500 club.

What do you think? Are you planning on culture tripping this year?

Hotels Retool In-Room Dining

May 5, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

Room service, or in-room dining as it is now often called, is being retooled at many hotels as a way to cut costs while struggling with lessened demand for rooms and decreased travel. In-room dining has never been profitable for hotels, even prior to the recession, but has always been de rigueur for hotels of a certain stature, Joseph McInerney, president and chief executive of American Hotel and Lodging Association, told The New York Times. Brad Barnes, founder of restaurant consulting firm GigaChef, added that the service enhances the welcoming feel of a hotel, which in turn bolsters customer loyalty and the overall perception of the establishment.

So how do hotels trim their in-room dining offerings without axing the service altogether? According to the Times, some are focusing more on comfort foods and staples of the traveler’s diet such as sandwiches, salads, and hamburgers. Others are using cheaper cuts of meat and shrinking portion sizes, which allows them to drop their prices as well. Still others have resorted to preparing food in advance and using locally grown foods.

We ask our readers, how often do you use in-room dining? Have you noticed any difference in in-room dining on your travels?

Dining among the Trees

May 4, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

If you’re claustrophobic, or dining with the fishes just isn’t your thing, consider the Yellow Treehouse, a New Zealand-based exercise in both marketing and sustainability that sits 30 feet above ground amidst a private redwood forest. The large, onion-shaped restaurant was conceived as an ad campaign for directory-focused company Yellow and was built using only resources found in the company’s directories. With its slatted, tree-clinging structure, the restaurant is meant to resemble nature and, fittingly, was constructed using redwood from the surrounding forest, as well as sustainably grown pine and poplar.

The bad news (or good news, if you’re acrophobic) is that the Yellow Treehouse was open for business for only a few months. However, in the future it may become available for rent for weddings and parties.