Qantas to Begin Flying Its Dreamliner to New York via Los Angeles and Brisbane

Qantas to Begin Flying Its Dreamliner to New York via Los Angeles and Brisbane

Qantas has announced the next route for its newest Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft — the same aircraft that will soon operate the world’s longest flight. On Monday, the carrier announced that it’s set to begin Dreamliner operations on its route between Brisbane (BNE) and Los Angeles (LAX), continuing on to New York (JFK).

The Dreamliner’s business-class cabin.

Beginning September 1, 2018, Qantas will offer daily Dreamliner service between BNE and LAX, then continuing on to JFK. The Dreamliner will replace one of Qantas’ Boeing 747-400 aircraft that currently flies on the route. While the swap represents a reduction in capacity — 371 seats on the 744 versus 236 seats on the 789 — the new aircraft is both an improvement in the hard product as well as being much more fuel efficient. The daily Dreamliner flights will operate on the following schedule:

  • QF15 Brisbane (BNE) 10:20am Departure ⇒ Los Angeles (LAX) 6:00am Arrival
  • QF11 Los Angeles (LAX) 8:20am Departure ⇒ New York (JFK) 4:40pm Arrival
  • QF12 New York (JFK) 6:10pm Departure ⇒ Los Angeles (LAX) 9:00pm Arrival
  • QF16 Los Angeles (LAX) 11:25pm Departure ⇒ Brisbane (BNE) 6:10am (+2) Arrival

In addition to these Dreamliner-operated flights, between September and December 2018, LAX-BNE daily Dreamliner operations will also be complemented by 3x weekly 747 service on the route. As of December 1, 2018, a Dreamliner will take over for the 747 and also increase options with 4x weekly service. In addition to the daily schedule listed above, the 4x weekly Dreamliner service between BNE and LAX will operate on the following schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays:

  • QF55 Brisbane (BNE) 5:15pm Departure ⇒ Los Angeles (LAX) 11:55am Arrival
  • QF56 Los Angeles (LAX) 9:05pm Departure ⇒ Brisbane (BNE) 5:00am (+2) Arrival

Since Qantas took delivery of its first Dreamliner, it’s announced that the latest addition to its fleet will fly on the following routes: Melbourne (MEL) to Los Angeles (LAX), Melbourne (MEL) to San Francisco (SFO) and Perth (PER) to London (LHR), which will be the world’s longest flight.

The premium ecnomy cabin.
The premium economy cabin.

Qantas’ Dreamliner features three cabins: business (42 seats), premium economy (28 seats) and economy (166 seats). The business-class cabin is arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, offering each lie-flat seat direct aisle access. The premium economy cabin is arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration, with each seat offering 38 inches of pitch and 20.5 inches of width. Finally, the economy cabin is arranged in a 3-3-3 configuration, with each seat offering 32 inches of pitch and 17.2 inches of width.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be much award space on this route with the new product — check out this guide for the best websites to search Oneworld availability. However, if you’re looking to fly it regardless, use this guide to figure out where you should sit. Also, check out this TPG review of the premium economy cabin.


via The Points Guy

January 30, 2018 at 01:19PM

News: Hook promoted into new executive vice president role with Hard Rock International

News: Hook promoted into new executive vice president role with Hard Rock International

Hard Rock International, with an expanding global network of hotels and casinos, has announced the promotion of Jeffrey Hook to the role of executive vice president of development and marketing. 

In his new position, Hook will be responsible for the global development of Hard Rock Casinos outside of the Asian continent, where the company’s chief executive of Asia, Ed Tracy, will continue to be responsible for casino development.

Hook was most recently senior vice president of business development and marketing for Hard Rock International.

Hook’s promotion was announced by Hard Rock International chairman, Jim Allen, who applauded his accomplishments in expanding the Hard Rock Casino brand.

In 2008, Hook joined Seminole Gaming as senior vice president of marketing, with overall marketing responsibility for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos in Hollywood and Tampa, Florida, as well as other Seminole casinos in Florida.

Seminole Gaming manages the gaming operation of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which purchased Hard Rock International in 2007.

His 23 years of experience in the gaming industry have included leadership positions at MGM, Boyd Gaming, and Harrah’s Entertainment. 

Hook is a graduate of the University of Kansas in Lawrence with a bachelor of science degree in Journalism.


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 01:15PM

Exciting New Airline Routes for January 2018 and Beyond

Exciting New Airline Routes for January 2018 and Beyond

Airlines around the world launch and announce dozens of new flight routes and service changes every month. Today, we’ll share just a few of the latest flights that will take to the skies this month or in the near future. Keep in mind that exact flight details (like schedules and aircraft, among other things) may change.


United’s New Nonstop from Houston to Sydney (launched January 18)

Sydney Australia. (Photo by @Barefoot_Traveller via Twenty20)
A beautiful beach in Sydney, Australia, as seen from above. Photo by @Barefoot_Traveller via Twenty20.

Details — Move over Dallas-to-Sydney; as of January 18, there’s a new longest flight from Texas in town. United’s new nonstop 787-9 Dreamliner route from Houston (IAH) to Sydney (SYD) is just 18 minutes longer, putting your flight time at a whopping 17 hours and 30 minutes. Keep in mind that while you’ll be losing a day of travel as you cross the international dateline, you’ll gain it back on the return trip, which puts you back in the Lone Star State an hour and 20 minutes before you even took off in Sydney because #TimeTravel.

Schedule (daily):

  • UA101 Houston (IAH) 8:00pm Departure → Sydney (SYD) 6:30am (+2) Arrival
  • UA100 Sydney (SYD) 11:50am Departure → Houston (IAH) 10:30am Arrival

Fly an A321neo from Boston to the Azores (launched January 12)

Portas da Cidade in Ponta Delgada at dusk (Azores). (Photo by sack/Getty Images)
Portas da Cidade in Ponta Delgada at dusk. Photo by sack/Getty Images.

Details — This one isn’t so much a new route as an exciting new development in terms of the aircraft Azores Airlines is now flying — in this case, a shiny new A321neo instead of the ancient A310s it had been using to bring folks between Boston (BOS) and Ponta Delgada (PDL). You can try out the new bird on hops between the two cities four times per week until March 25, when flights increase to six times per week.

Schedule (4x per week until March 25, then 6x per week):

  • S4220 Boston (BOS) 9:15pm Departure → Ponta Delgada (PDL) 6:00am (+1) Arrival
  • S4221 Ponta Delgada (PDL) 3:30pm Departure → Boston (BOS) 5:20pm Arrival
  • S4281 Ponta Delgada (PDL) 5:15pm Departure → Boston (BOS) 7:05pm Arrival

New Southwest Service Between Tampa and San Diego (launched January 8)

Coastal view from Encinitas, San Diego. Photo by Peeter Viisimaa / Getty Images.
Coastal view from Encinitas, San Diego. Photo by Peeter Viisimaa / Getty Images.

Details — As Tampa International Airport (TPA) continues its expansion, it seems Southwest is as well, adding a new nonstop flight between the popular Sunshine State city and San Diego (SAN) this month aboard a combination of its 737-700s and 737-800s. The move also makes this TPA’s first nonstop flight to the west coast, giving beach enthusiasts in Florida and California an easy way to swap sand for a few days.

Schedule (daily):

  • SW799 Tampa (TPA) 9:40am Departure → San Diego (SAN) 11:55am Arrival
  • SW478 San Diego (SAN) 12:45pm Departure → Tampa (TPA) 8:05pm Arrival

JetBlue Begins Service Between Syracuse and Boston (launched January 4)

The Boston skyline. Photo by Rick Friedman/Corbis via Getty Images.
The Boston skyline. Photo by Rick Friedman / Corbis / Getty Images.

Details — Great news for those based in upstate New York: You’ll now be able to easily get from Syracuse (SYR) to Boston (BOS) thanks to a nonstop flight from JetBlue that launched earlier this month. The 80-minute hop is being operated by the carrier’s Embraer RJ-190.

Schedule (daily):

  • B6840 Syracuse (SYR) 5:40am Departure → Boston (BOS) 7:00am Arrival
  • B6845 Boston (BOS) 10:15pm Departure → Syracuse (SYR) 11:42pm Arrival


Emirates Will Soon Fly Nonstop Between Newark and Dubai

The many sides of Dubai. Photo by aiqingwang / Getty Images.
The many sides of Dubai. Photo by aiqingwang / Getty Images.

Details — Exciting news for those in the NYC area who wish to visit the UAE. As of June 1, Emirates will be flying its 777-300ER — although, sadly, not the version featuring the new first-class suite — nonstop on a new daily flight between Newark (EWR) and Dubai (DXB). You can also catch the carrier’s daily nonstop to Athens (ATH) from EWR, a fifth-freedom route that eventually takes you to DXB as well. To compensate for the new Newark option, Emirates is cutting down on its service from JFK, reducing its current offerings to just two daily nonstop options as of March 25. Also note that the airline’s fifth-freedom route from JFK to Milan (MXP) and Dubai will remain operational.

Schedule (daily, starting June 1, 2018):

  • EK224 Newark (EWR) 11:50am Departure → Dubai (DXB) 8:20am (+1) Arrival
  • EK223 Dubai (DXB) 3:00am Departure → Newark (EWR) 9:00am Arrival

New Routes on Icelandair to Reykjavik From Three US Cities

All roads lead to Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo by powerofforever / Getty Images.
All roads lead to Reykjavik, Iceland. Photo by powerofforever / Getty Images.

Details — With the amount of new routes to Reykjavik (KEF) starting up this year from San Francisco (SFO), Baltimore (BWI) and Kansas City (MCI), it’s getting harder to find reasons not to visit Iceland this year. The SFO route will be operated by a 767-300ER, while the BWI and MCI routes will be serviced by the airline’s 757-200. Assistant Editor Brendan Dorsey flew in economy on Icelandair’s 767-300ER last year, which also features an economy comfort section as well as business class — or what the carrier calls Saga — with reclining seats. Note that while these flight times don’t yet appear on Google Flights, you can still find them by searching directly through Icelandair’s website.

San Francisco (SFO) to Reykjavik (KEF), starting June 1:

4x per week on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday:

  • FI862 San Francisco (SFO) 3:15pm Departure → Reykjavik (KEF) 6:40am (+1) Arrival

4x per week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday:

  • FI863 Reykjavik (KEF) 5:00pm Departure → San Francisco (SFO) 6:55pm Arrival

Baltimore (BWI) to Reykjavik (KEF), starting May 28:

4x per week on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday:

  • FI642 Baltimore (BWI) 8:35pm Departure  → Reykjavik (KEF) 6:20am (+1) Arrival
  • FL643 Reykjavik (KEF) 3:05pm Departure  → Baltimore (BWI) 7:25pm Arrival

Kansas City (MCI) to Reykjavik (KEF), from May 25 to September 2018:

Seasonal service 3x per week on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday:

  • FI840 Kansas City (MCI) 5:15pm Departure → Reykjavik (KEF) 5:10am (+1) Arrival
  • FI841 Reykjavik (KEF) 6:00pm Departure → Kansas City (MCI) 8:45pm Arrival

Hawaiian Airlines to Start Flying Between Long Beach and Honolulu

Doesn’t Waikiki Beach look great right about now? Photo by M Swiet Productions / Getty Images.

Details — Break out those Aloha shirts and bathing suits. For those based on the West Coast, that Hawaiian vacation you’ve been dreaming about just got a little bit closer thanks to a new route from Long Beach, California (LGB) beginning May 31. The roughly six-hour flight will be operated by the carrier’s A321neo, which you can also fly from Oakland (OAK) and Portland (PDX) to Kahului, Maui (OGG). Hawaiian Airlines will also begin flying the aircraft between OAK and Kauai (LIH) as of April 11, as well as Los Angeles (LAX) to Kona (KOA) on Hawaii’s Big Island later this year.

Schedule (daily, starting May 31, 2018): 

  • HA69 Long Beach (LGB) 8:30am Departure → Honolulu (HNL) 11:40am Arrival
  • HA70 Honolulu (HNL) 12:30pm Departure → Long Beach (LGB) 9:00pm Arrival

American Airlines Adds Shuttle Service Between New York and Chicago

Image courtesy of MattFrankel via Getty Images.
Flying between The Big Apple and The Windy City just got easier. Image courtesy of MattFrankel / Getty Images.

Details — Earlier this month, American Airlines continued its ongoing expansion by announcing new shuttle service from everybody’s favorite NYC airport, LaGuardia (LGA) — note the sarcasm — designed to help business travelers who regularly fly between the Big Apple and Chicago (ORD). As of April 4, you’ll have 15 flights to choose from per weekday. The best part: Main cabin passengers will receive complimentary snacks, wine and beer, while those seated in first class will receive free snack baskets, beer, wine and spirits. Newspapers and magazines will also be available in the boarding lounge free of charge.

Kenya Airways to Introduce Nonstop Flights to Nairobi This Fall

A market scene in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by cribea / Getty Images.
A market scene in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by cribea / Getty Images.

Details — If an epic African safari or a memorable stay at Giraffe Manor has been on your bucket list, now’s the time to start planning your big adventure, with a daily nonstop flight on Kenya Airways from New York (JFK) to Nairobi, Kenya (NBO), set to launch October 30.

Schedule (daily, starting October 30, 2018):

  • KQ3 New York (JFK) 12:25pm Departure → Nairobi (NBO) 9:55am (+1) Arrival
  • KQ2 Nairobi (NBO) 11:25pm Departure → New York (JFK) 6:25am (+1) Arrival

Low-Cost Carrier Gol Announces Flights Between Brazil and Florida

Fortaleza Iracema Beach in Brazil. Photo by craftvision/Getty Images.
Fortaleza Iracema Beach in Brazil. Photo by craftvision/Getty Images.

Details — Between the recent news that US passport holders can now apply for a $40 E-Visa to enter Brazil and the fact that low-cost carrier GOL is launching flights from Miami (MIA) and Orlando (MCO) to two Brazilian cities — Brasília (BSB) and Fortaleza (FOR) — starting November 4, an epic trip to this intriguing South American country just became more affordable than ever. Not only that, you’ll have the chance to travel on the world’s longest 737 flight since the Orlando to Brasília route clocks in at a whopping 3,778 miles.

Schedule (daily, starting November 4, 2018):

  • G37600 Brasília (BSB) 9:50AM Departure → Orlando (MCO) 2:50PM Arrival
  • G37601 Orlando (MCO) 9:30PM Departure → Brasília (BSB) 8:20AM (+1) Arrival
  • G37664 Fortaleza (FOR) 8:35AM Departure → Orlando (MCO) 2:25PM Arrival
  • G37665 Orlando (MCO) 9:45PM Departure → Fortaleza (FOR) 7:15AM (+1) Arrival
  • G37748 Brasília (BSB) 9:50AM Departure → Miami (MIA) 2:25PM Arrival
  • G37749 Miami (MIA) 9:45PM Departure → Brasília (BSB) 8:20AM (+1) Arrival
  • G37732 Fortaleza (FOR) 8:35AM Departure → Miami (MIA) 2:05PM Arrival
  • G37733 Miami (MIA) 10:00PM Departure → Fortaleza (FOR) 7:15AM (+1) Arrival

United To Add Nonstop Flights From Newark to Rapid City This Summer

Don’t miss a trip to Badlands National Park if you’re ever in Rapid City. Photo by @EmilyNinaPhoto via Twenty20.

Details — If you’re looking for a fantastic place to do a summer road trip this year, a new nonstop flight from the New York City area (EWR) to Rapid City (PAR), South Dakota, will put you right in the middle of all the action. From PAR, you’ll be within an hour’s drive of Badlands National Park, 30 minutes from Mount Rushmore National Monument and 35 minutes from Custer State Park, where you can literally get caught in traffic because a herd of buffalo decides to cross the road. The new domestic route, one of many being introduced by United this month, will be operated on Saturdays by Embraer E175 aircraft starting June 23.

Schedule (Saturday only, starting June 23, 2018):

  • UA3540 Newark (EWR) 10:00am Departure → Rapid City (RAP) 12:05pm Arrival
  • UA3491 Rapid City (PAR) 12:45pm Departure → Newark (EWR) 6:47pm Arrival

Which of these new routes are you most excited about?

Additional reporting by Jeffrey Preis. Featured image of the Bondi Icebergs in Sydney, Australia, by @prozipix via Twenty20.


via The Points Guy

January 30, 2018 at 01:02PM

Could air services decide which city will win Amazon’s HQ2?

Could air services decide which city will win Amazon’s HQ2?

For a number of US cities, the bid to attract Amazon’s new HQ2 has been one of the top development priorities, with each candidate making attractive concessions in hopes of attracting the tech giant to build its facility and deliver jobs.

To help Amazon decide, OAG has put together a helpful ranking of the contenders based on their air services potential. OAG considers the number of destinations served, availability of non-stop service to Seattle, and the range of international connectivity.

Each city is ranked individually for each category with the sum result as the final ranking.

OAG’s ranking favors the established aviation mega-hubs of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Dallas-Fort Worth. New York is a combination of New York City and Newark, each ranked first because of their combined air services from JFK, EWR and LGA.

While OAG’s rationale for ranking the cities by air service is sound, there are other soft factors in air service which could also drive Amazon’s decision.

For example, airports may be willing to give airlines additional concessions in order to attract new routes and help their chances of earning Amazon’s bid.

An example would be British Airways launching direct services to Heathrow from Austin and new services to Asia in development at Boston, both of which OAG cite.


Amazon may also look at issues of service reliability, and a low-hassle factor in the journey, which would give an edge to some of the smaller airports included in the list.

There’s a precedent for this corporate thinking from one of the world’s other large and influential companies: LEGO. The toy giant built Billund airport for its own private use before opening it up to community service, assisting both transportation of its employees and logistics deliveries.

A corporate-grown airport favors the development needs of that corporation which gives the cities with smaller airports on the HQ2 list a unique edge.

Airlines may also have a lot to do with it. Beyond air services and connectivity, Amazon may consider onboard experience and loyalty programs. Two primary airlines which may drive the decision going forward are Alaska Airlines and Delta Air Lines, both of which lay claim to being Seattle’s home-town airline (though Alaska’s claim pre-dates Delta’s).

Could Alaska help make Pittsburgh the next Billund for Amazon?

Last November, Alaska Airlines announced a planned launched daily non-stop service between Seattle and Pittsburg starting in September of this year. When we saw this announcement it peaked our interest in connection with the Amazon bid because of the flight schedule and also Pittsburgh Airport’s strategy for rational growth and cost efficiencies, as stated atthe CAPA airline event in London last year.

The Alaska Airlines flights are also very commuter-friendly, departing Seattle at 8:25 and arriving at Pittsburgh at 4:10 pm; with Pittsburgh departures at 5:20 pm arriving in Seattle at 7:50 pm.

It’s a stretch, but one we find enticing given Alaska’s acquisition of Virgin America, the airlines new corporate image and passenger experience improvements, as well as Alaska’s focus on automated self-service enhancements throughout the journey.

Certainly, Delta Air Lines has a lot to offer and will be pushing its strengths at Atlanta and beyond.

For its part, OAG touts the strengths of its US headquarters in Chicago and Boston, both of which offer a number of advantages in connectivity. Boston, OAG is quick to point out, offers the shortest connections to Europe and Chicago hosts two major airline alliances.

Oh, Canada!

Still, we shouldn’t underestimate Toronto. After all, Amazon may want to plant a flag in a city that not only offers great passenger experience at the terminal and convenient international and domestic connections, but also because it offers something the other cities don’t have: it’s in Canada.

Ongoing debates on immigration and visa policies in the US, and the potential conflicts in hiring a diverse staff, could tip the balance in Toronto’s favor. Besides, Toronto has US Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance which makes onward travel to the US a breeze.


via tnooz

January 30, 2018 at 12:03PM

The Life-Changing Magic of Clogs

The Life-Changing Magic of Clogs

This past November, when I was informed that my job had been eliminated,
I did not cry. Instead, I was overcome with a throbbing numbness, a dull
sensation of suppressed pain that settled in my bones. That night, I
slept fitfully, and I woke up feeling no less disoriented. I served
myself tequila for breakfast.

In slightly better shape a day later, I felt ready to take the logical
next step. It was with nothing short of mania that I bounded into the
No.6 flagship store,
located on an alley-like street in Little Italy, and announced that I
was ready for my clogs. The shop girls, a jumble of attenuated limbs and
stringy hair, tolerated me with a spirit of resigned professionalism.
One of the helpers informed me that they strongly discourage the wearing
of socks; the other watched me try on a beautiful navy suède boot. “Your
toe should kiss the end of the clog, not bang into it,” she told me.
We determined that I was banging, not kissing, and went one size up.

The clog, comfortable on levels both physical and spiritual, has for me
come to stand for an existence untethered to the corporate grind. Clog
life is not lived off the grid but grid-adjacent. It’s a fuzzy, fancy
realm, littered with alpaca sweaters, Rachel Cusk novels, and trees that
grow indoors, in charmingly primitive ceramic pots. Yotam Ottolenghi
cookbooks have a place in Clog Life. So do St. Vincent albums, school
pickups, and self-care. Eager to assume my rightful place on Planet
Clog, I handed over my credit card to one of the No.6 employees. The
price was more than any freelance writer without a single assignment
should allow herself to spend on a pair of shoes. But I’d worry about
the money later. For now, I needed to step out into my cloggy future.

The clog has long borne witness to human suffering. In the summer of
2011, a team of Dutch archaeologists travelled to the village
of Middenbeemster, a region best known for its medium-hard white cheese
and whose church and adjoining cemetery were being relocated. The group
noticed an unusual pattern in the bones of five hundred skeletons,
mostly belonging to nineteenth-century Dutch dairy farmers: a
preponderance of chips and craters localized in the bones of the feet.
Some of the craters were the size of a jellybean, others as large as a
piece of Hanukkah gelt, or even a plum. “It was as if chunks of bone had
just been chiselled away,” said an astonished-sounding Andrea
Waters-Rist, Ph.D., one of the group’s co-leaders. Her team determined
that the micro-traumas were associated with osteochondritis dissecans,
a rare type of joint disorder that is linked to overuse or sustained
shock. The academics concluded the source to be the rigors of working on
the land, and, more specifically, doing so in klompen, the wooden
clogs common to Dutch farmers of the time.

In the centuries that followed, shoemakers vastly improved on the clog’s
design, and wooden uppers are all but unheard of. Bulbous shoes with
wooden heels have gone from podiatric armor for European field workers
to a signifier of bicoastal creative-class bohemianism, the heirloom
cherry on top of the modest-fashion sundae. Chloë Sevigny, Lena Dunham,
Kim Gordon, and Michelle Williams are all members of the clogerati. Walk
around Venice Beach, or Boerum Hill, or any neighborhood buzzing with
attractive folks who are in the business of making things—often other
people’s tastes—and behold the explosion playing out at ground level.
From platform mules and tasseled sandals in the summer, to
stacked-heeled Doc Martens spinoffs and fleece-lined boots of every
length in the rain and the snow, it’s a clog world.

Defined as any shoe with a wooden sole, a clog is generally wanting in
the sex-appeal department. Its charms, such as they are, likely would
have eluded the Kennedy sisters or Carrie Bradshaw (though Sarah Jessica
Parker’s new shoe line, SJP, features the clog-inspired
Rigby,” retailing for three hundred and eighty-five dollars). What it lacks in
mainstream beauty it makes up for in emotional charge. Christian
Louboutin, the designer of cult sky-high red-soled stilettos, stands at
the head of the clog-deniers. “I love flats. I’m not speaking of clogs,
all right? No clogs, please,” he said on the Fat Mascara podcast. “When
you hear the sound of someone coming, when you hear high heels, you
imagine something immediately. When you hear clogs, what do you imagine?
A donkey!” Still, at a moment when our First Lady invites ridicule by
showing up to scenes of national disaster in pristine Manolo Blahnik
, and when the billionaire captains of Silicon Valley industry
are wearing Allbirds—furry-looking merino-wool sneakers—the time seems
ripe for the reconsideration of a shoe that resembles a member of the
squash family.

Much in the way that it has suddenly become fashionable to swaddle our
toddlers in costly burlap-like linens and sepia-hued ensembles befitting
street urchins, adult women are opting to slip into footwear that
gestures at the rough-hewn and the handmade. “It connects to a kind of
boho peasantry; it speaks to this kind of rural past,” Elizabeth
Semmelhack, the senior curator at the Bata Shoe
, in Toronto, says of the clog
phenomenon. “Fashion is always intimately intertwined with the politics
of any given moment. It doesn’t surprise me that we would be leaning
back into a nostalgia for a better time.”

The ancient Romans wore them in their bathhouses, and the
Japanese fashioned Geta shoes—the elevated clog and flip-flop hybrids,
seen in eighteenth-century woodcuts and contemporary
street-style photographs. European farmers, including the Dutch and the
English, favored closed-toe clogs for their protective powers in
difficult working conditions. Wooden shoes were memorialized in the
French painter Jean-François Millet’s “The Gleaners,” from 1857, which depicts a trio of peasants toiling in the fields in their clogs. The
shoe came to prominence in America during the Depression and the Second
World War, when leather was scarce. Boho-chic crowds of the early
nineteen-seventies adopted the clog. The new iteration of the shoe had a
leather upper and, often, an exaggerated heel that paired to marvellous
effect with hot pants.

More recently, Christopher Kane and Balenciaga have featured clogs on
their runways, and newfangled versions from designers like Rachel Comey,
Anya Hindmarch, and Malone Souliers are available on luxury e-commerce
sites. Several American companies, including the Chisago City, Minnesota–based Sven,
as well as Dansko—known for its unapologetic male-nurse aesthetic—are
devoted to the shoe. It is indisputably the New York-based brand No.6,
though, that has conferred high-style status on the clunker. Founded in
2005 by the stylist Karin Bereson and Morgan Yakus (who has since left
the company in order to pursue a career as a past-life regression
coach), the No.6 label is sold at high-end shops, such as Barneys and
Bird, the chain of Brooklyn boutiques where all the au fait moms
purchase their expensive jumpsuits and garbage-bag dresses. A friend who
recently took a spiritual vacation in Mexico City texted to tell me
she’d spotted No.6 merchandise at a chichi boutique near her hotel.

“The clog-wearer is completely changing,” No.6’s Bereson told me in her
speedy, raspy voice. “Our customer used to be the girls who you now see
downtown wearing Crocs ironically and no makeup, and who
are so fashion. Now we’re getting the girl who eight years ago would
have worn Uggs, and the mom who has a pair of clogs in the country and a
pair at home.” I keep but one residence, so my single pair of size-41
dark blue beauties suffices. My husband was not particularly keen on my purchase, pointing out that my new shoes looked like oversized
eggplants. But I find the shape attractive, like a retro kidney swimming
pool in a Slim Aarons photograph. The heel provides a flattering lift
off the ground. When I heed the No.6 employees’ advice and go sockless,
my bare feet sweat against the fuzzy fleece, which wicks the moisture; I
find myself in a bewilderingly pleasant feedback loop, as if in a
perpetual state of après-ski coziness.

Most important, my clogs do for me what they did for the Dutch farmers
of yore: they keep me warm, dry, and protected from the copious manure
underfoot. Hours after making my purchase, I shared the news with my
Instagram followers—an overhead photograph of my navy blue beauties,
tagged #cloglife. Over the following weeks, I documented my new
liberated life, which included an eerily quiet in-box. I joined a gym
that costs fifteen dollars a month. I posted pictures from there, or
glamorous work sessions at Pret a Manger, or Tuesday-afternoon museum
outings—all filed under #cloglife. A literal-minded former colleague
wrote to ask if I had started editing a niche magazine. Several more
thought I had lost my mind along with my job.

But it was in the spirit of giving, not losing—giving up, giving in,
giving others permission to make fun of my new circumstances. “How’s
clog life?” rolls off the tongue quite a bit more easily than “How’s
being laid off?” Acquaintances old and new show up for our lunch dates
and coffee meetings in their own clogs, or tag me in their #cloglife
posts. I am a poorer and less relevant version of my former self, but
never have I felt so understood.


via Everything

January 30, 2018 at 12:02PM

What Credit Card Should I Be Using for Hotel Incidental Charges?

What Credit Card Should I Be Using for Hotel Incidental Charges?

Starting today, “Reader Questions” will be answered twice a week — Tuesdays and Thursdays — by TPG Assistant Editor Brendan Dorsey. Brendan has been with TPG for a year and a half and hails from Northern California.

A common question many people ask is, “what’s the best credit card for a particular purchase?” This was TPG reader Ross‘ dilemma regarding a recent points stay at a hotel in Hawaii, and purchases he charged to his room…

I am staying at the Marriott in Waikoloa, HI and booked using points from my Chase Sapphire Reserve. When I go to check out of the hotel should I pay the bill (drinks / food / any room charges) with the Amex Platinum I gave the desk when I checked in or the Sapphire Reserve?

TPG Reader Ross

We need to break down this question into two parts. First, does Ross have to use his American Express Platinum Card, which he gave to the Marriott Waikoloa when he checked in, even though he booked the stay with points from his Chase Sapphire Reserve? And second, what card should he use to pay for his hotel incidentals, i.e.: for food, drinks and any room charges?

Let’s start with the first question. The answer is pretty simple: no, Ross doesn’t need to use his Amex Platinum just because he gave it to the desk when he checked in. He also doesn’t need to use his Chase Sapphire Reserve for incidentals, even though his stay was paid for with Ultimate Rewards points.

The Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Image courtesy of Marriott.

The more complicated question is the second one. Which card is the best to use for hotel incidentals?

In Ross’ case. he’s asking whether he should use his Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Platinum card gets 5x points on hotels, but that’s only when booking through Amex Travel for prepaid hotels. Meaning once Ross actually gets to the hotel, his Platinum would only earn 1 point per dollar.

Ross will have better luck if he uses his Sapphire Reserve, which gets 3x points on all travel and dining purchases. So anything he buys at the property — be it from the poolside bar or hotel spa — and charges to his room will likely code as a hotel purchase, and should net him the 3x points.

It’s also important to note how much different points are worth, which you can find in TPG’s monthly points valuations. Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards are both quite valuable and flexible when it comes to redemptions. Membership Rewards points are worth 1.9 cents apiece while Ultimate Rewards are worth 2.1 cents.

Let’s say Ross charges $300 to his room during his stay. Not only will the category bonus be higher if he uses the Sapphire Reserve, but the points are worth more:

Card POint Bonus Hotel Charges points earned Value earned
Chase Sapphire Reserve 3x $300 900 $18.90
American Express Platinum 1x $300 300 $5.70

As we can see, Ross will be getting significantly more value if he uses the Sapphire Reserve — a full $13.20 more.

Now, not everyone is going to have this particular card combo, as both of these are premium cards with high annual fees. But what you can personally take away from this question is that when you’re staying at a hotel, make sure you’re using a card that gets bonus points or miles on travel or hotel purchases.

Lower annual fee cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi ThankYou Premier both get 2x points on all travel purchases. In Ross’ case, since he’s staying at a Marriott, he could also use a card like the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, which would get him 2x Starpoints on all purchases at a Marriott or Starwood property. Or if he had a Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, that would net him 5x Marriott Rewards points on any similar transaction. You could even use a card like the new Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card that comes with a $250 Hilton Resort statement credit if you’re staying at an eligible Hilton property.

So if you’ve booked a hotel with points or a certain card, just make sure you look through your wallet once you actually get to the property and figure out which card gets the highest category bonus for travel or hotel purchases — it can mean a real difference in return. Thanks for the question, Ross, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at

Featured image by Phil Boorman/Getty Images.


via The Points Guy

January 30, 2018 at 12:01PM

Tech buyers believe in space tourism and Hyperloop, unsure about flying cars

Tech buyers believe in space tourism and Hyperloop, unsure about flying cars

This is a viewpoint from David Chapple, event director for Travel Technology Europe.

It may sound like fantasy or something from an 1980s movie, but within the next ten years travel industry buyers are very optimistic that not only leisure trips to outer space but also travel at breakneck speeds on vacuum trains such as Sir Richard Branson’s Hyperloop will have hit the mainstream.

According to the latest research from Travel Technology Europe, three quarters (76%) of travel buyers expect that Hyperloop will be a mainstream technology within the next ten years, with only 4% of respondents saying that they think it will never become a reality.

The super high speed train will use magnets to lift it off the rails to reduce friction, travelling in a tunnel using vacuum technology to speed it along. It is aiming to run at incredible speeds of up to 760 mph – the Eurostar runs at 186mph as a point of comparison. If it did become mainstream the possibilities it would open up for travel are mind-blowing – imagine being able to cross the United States in a matter of hours or travel from London to Paris in 30 minutes.

Buyers optimistic on space travel

Commercial space travel has been touted for some time now, with Branson again one of the cheerleaders. Of the travel tech buyers we polled, 50% expect to see it become mainstream in the next ten years with 11% thinking it will never happen. One thing’s for sure, if it does happen it certainly won’t be replacing the two week holiday on the Costas. The prices will be astronomical, making it a pursuit strictly for the super elite.

Other emerging technologies that buyers are very confident will hit the mainstream are augmented reality, VR goggles in homes and self-driving cars.

Buyers are extremely confident that augmented reality technology is here to stay. 77% of buyers believe it will be mainstream within the next five years, with 14% already considering it to be mainstream. Only 3% believe it will be a passing fad. The technology is already being widely used by the travel industry. Some hotels, for example, are using interactive wall maps that guests can touch to find out information about their local area.

Augmented reality apps are also being used by attractions to organise games or quizzes for customers, by travel providers to offer directions and by restaurants for diners to see pictures of dishes. As this is an area with such huge potential for the travel industry, we have dedicated a lot of sessions to it at Travel Technology Europe.

Buyers are also confident that VR googles at home will become mainstream, with 76% of buyers expecting this to happen within the next five years and 14% already considering them to be mainstream.  Early adopters and gamers have already been purchasing these in droves and we are starting to see more mainstream uses as well. They are already being used in the travel industry to help in-store staff sell product and give customers a taster for resorts and destinations.

We can expect this to become more widespread in 2018 and the possibilities for it are endless – virtual reality street maps could enable us to visit our hotels and explore destinations before we even touchdown.

85% of buyers expect self-driving cars to be mainstream in the next 10 years with no one saying that they believe this would never happen. Self-driving cars are already being driven and tested, what is yet to be seen is the extent to which they will be self-driving – will they require some oversight from the driver or will the person in the driving seat be able to recline their chair and read a novel? There are numerous health and safety, legal and insurance hurdles that would need to be overcome for the latter to become a reality.

Flying cars confined to science fiction

One technology buyers are not convinced on is flying cars. Flying police cars might have been a vision of the future in Blade Runner but it looks like for the time being they are going to be confirmed to the realms of science fiction. Only a third (30%) of respondents expected them to become mainstream in the next twenty years with 35% saying that they never expect to see a car take flight.

Knowing which emerging technologies are going to hit the mainstream is always a tricky science when it comes to planning Travel Technology Europe. Visitors want to know what technology baskets to put their eggs in and come to the show to find out. For that reason I can’t promise space rockets and hyperloop travel but visitors can expect to find plenty at the show about how augmented reality and virtual reality are making their impact on travel.

Register for free to attend Travel Technology Europe, 21st-22nd February 2018

This is a viewpoint from David Chapple, event director for Travel Technology Europe. It appears as part of the tnooz sponsored content initiative..


via tnooz

January 30, 2018 at 11:12AM

Travel Tips From Comedians: Tom Segura

Travel Tips From Comedians: Tom Segura


Travel Tips From Comedians: Tom Segura

Comedians know a thing or two about travel, since their job is to make people laugh in cities all across the world. Here are a few pointers from Tom Segura, whose new special “Disgraceful” is now streaming on Netflix.

Tom Segura’s Netflix special “Disgraceful” premiered Jan. 12.CreditRobyn Von Swank

The comedian Tom Segura doesn’t necessarily like traveling, but he knows what works for him, and it doesn’t involve fancy outfits (though sleep masks do come into play).

“I see people glammed up and it’s like, dude, you should dress like a fugitive when you get on a flight,” Mr. Segura, whose latest comedy special, “Disgraceful” is now streaming on Netflix, said. “You should make travel as comfortable as possible.”

He does, though, have his limits on casual wear — more on that below. And you also have to be prepared to react to other people’s actions, he said, which is where the sleep mask comes in.

“On early a.m. flights there’s always one jackass who still wants to watch the sun rise and then stare into it for the next five hours,” Mr. Segura said. “Meanwhile, everyone in the whole cabin has their window shade down and it’s dark but there’s that one guy. So now I just put on a sleep mask.”

Traveling with children is a whole other thing. Mr. Segura and his wife — fellow stand-up comedian Christina Pazsitzky — became first-time parents in Dec. 2015.

“Traveling with kids is tough. My best advice is don’t do it,” Mr. Segura said.

But if you have no choice, he has thoughts on that too and further observations on how to make travel more bearable.

Checking a Bag Is for Rookies

I’m definitely a jaded traveler but you try to make the best of what you know about the experience. Like, I know how to pack a bag. I know that checking a bag is for rookies. I know that if you’re in a high traffic time going into a major airport — I live in L.A., so at L.A.X. — you want to be dropped off at arrivals, not at departures. There’s less traffic there and you can run over to departures quickly. So it’s the little things that you pick up on the way.

Have Some Self Awareness

Begin with perhaps covering your torso. Have you seen photos of how people traveled on planes in the ’60s? Coat and tie was the standard. I’m not suggesting we all go back to that but for God’s sake do you really need to wear a tank top? Put on some deodorant and add a shirt if you don’t mind.

I get that most people aren’t going to be served food on a flight but the amount of people with zero regard for their fellow man is astounding. People bring all types of food onboard and by the smell of it, it wasn’t meant to be consumed. Tuna melts, pastrami, curry and virtually all fast food has what can only be described as a stench in a confined space. It’s mind-blowing how checked out and inconsiderate so many people are of the other passengers. Dude, eat that garbage before we board so the rest of us don’t have to spend the next four hours nauseated because you can’t plan out your meal times like an adult.

If You Must Travel With Kids, Bring Help

Leave your kids behind and take your trip, that would be my No. 1 tip. The second thing to do is, if you can, bring help. Whether it’s a friend, a nanny, a relative, whoever you can bring with you to help out. I’ve never done it alone so I’ve just been fortunate enough to always have some help with me. Without it, I think I would be freaking out. I’m not built to do that.

Do Whatever It Takes to Sleep Well

It’s all about getting great sleep. I’ve even gone as far as asking them for duct tape and I’ve taped that space, that gap that lets in light. In Canada one time, I told the guy, “yeah man, you know, I keep trying to block out the light” and they sent up the engineer and he’s like, “what are you doing?” I said, “I want it to be blacked out, man, so I can sleep.” And he goes, “oh I can staple it.” And I’m like, “you want to staple it to your own walls?” He was like, “yeah, sure.” And I was like, “I think you’re getting fired this week.”

Sleep is important for a comic — like it is for a lot of people. But sometimes we’re getting up at crazy hours. So I always ask for a hotel room not near the elevator. And I always ask for something not near the ground level. And depending on the class of hotel there’s little tricks like if you tell them you have medicine they’ll put a fridge in your room. Like, I don’t have any medicine but I still want a fridge.

How to Find the Best Restaurant in a Small City

If you ask somebody locally where a good spot is, they’ll often take you to like a bar with chicken fingers. And you want to be like, “what is wrong with you?” But you realize it’s just like what that person knows. So the way you find out the best restaurant in any city is go, “where do rich people eat?,” or, “where do people go for graduations and anniversaries.” It sucks that you have to phrase it that way because you sound pretentious but it’s the only way.



via NYT > Travel

January 30, 2018 at 10:54AM

Update: Meet the New Travel Agents (a.k.a. Travel Networks)

Update: Meet the New Travel Agents (a.k.a. Travel Networks)



Meet the New Travel Agents (a.k.a. Travel Networks)

How do these networks stack up against each other, and what does it cost to take advantage of their perks?

Casa Gangotena in Quito, Ecuador, one of the hotels in the travel network Virtuoso’s portfolio.CreditCasa Gangotena

Why would travelers ever plan a vacation on their own when their money will go a lot further with the help of a travel agent? At a time when booking trips online seems to be the norm, it’s a message that several travel networks, each with their own group of travel agents, are increasingly pushing.

With more than 16,000 agents globally, Virtuoso is one of the largest networks. That scale can benefit the traveler: Book a trip with a Virtuoso agent, said Albert Herrera, the company’s senior vice president of global product partnerships, and you will get hotel perks such as free breakfast, room upgrades and spa treatments; these extras are worth up to $450 a property. “If you’re staying at three hotels on one trip, you’re looking at more than $1,300 of amenities that you’re not paying for,” he said.

Signature Travel Network has more than 7,000 agents. Ignacio Maza, the company’s executive vice president, said that the network’s agents can get clients benefits valued at up to $500 at hotels; on cruises, more than $1,000.

Smaller networks also offer amenities for their clients: Andrew Harper Travel, for example, began in the 1970s as a hotel review company but expanded around 15 years ago to offer travel planning services; currently, the company has around 20 agents.

How do these networks stack up against each other, and what does it cost travelers, if anything, to take advantage of their perks? Here is a breakdown of some of the top networks.

Signature Travel Network


NUMBER OF AFFILIATED HOTELS More than 1,030, both large chains and boutique properties; the collection includes four- and five-star hotels.

THE COST Signature doesn’t charge a membership fee to use its agents, but some charge fees of up to several hundred dollars.

CRUISES? Yes, 30 lines. Benefits vary by sailing, but could include onboard credits, prepaid gratuities and shore excursions. Also, on a select 200 a year, travelers get a private guide and driver for a day at selected ports — a perk valued at up to $900, according to Mr. Maza.

HOTEL PERKS Up to $500 of amenities at hotels, including daily breakfast for two, an extra amenity such as a $100 dining credit, room upgrades and early check-in and checkout, when available. Some properties, like the Ritz Paris, offer additional benefits including round-trip airport transfers.



NUMBER OF AFFILIATED HOTELS More than 1,250 luxury hotels, both large chains and boutique properties; 900 of those can be booked through

THE COST Virtuoso doesn’t charge a membership fee to use its agents, but some charge trip-planning fees; depending on the complexity of the trip, fees can range from $50 to several hundred dollars.

CRUISES? Yes, 31 lines, with more than 500 select sailings a year. Travelers get an $800 credit to use one of three ways: onboard, for a private car and driver at a port of their choice, or for a tailor-made excursion.

HOTEL PERKS Up to $450 of amenities at hotels, including daily breakfast for two, room upgrades (either guaranteed at the time of booking or on a space available basis) and early check-in and late checkout, when available. All affiliated hotels also offer extras for their Virtuoso guests which vary by property. Examples include a six-course dinner at Casa Gangotena in Quito, Ecuador and a horse-drawn carriage tour with a stay at Alpaga Megève in Megève, France.

Ensemble Travel Group


NUMBER OF AFFILIATED HOTELS Around 700, both large chains and boutique properties; the collection includes four- and five-star hotels.

THE COST Ensemble doesn’t charge a membership fee to use agents, but some charge trip-planning fees.

CRUISES? Yes, 26 lines. On more than 1,500 select cruises a year, travelers receive various benefits such as room upgrades, onboard credits and shore excursions.

HOTEL PERKS Benefits vary by property, but could include room upgrades, daily breakfast, spa treatments, and food and wine welcome baskets. The Raffles Makati in the Philippines, for example, offers daily breakfast, afternoon tea, evening cocktails and 50-minute massages for two.

Fine Hotels & Resorts


NUMBER OF AFFILIATED HOTELS More than 1,000 affiliated luxury properties.

THE COST The network is exclusively for American Express Platinum and Centurion cardholders — the annual fee for a Platinum card is $550. (The company doesn’t reveal the cost of the Centurion card.) In addition, some agents charge small trip-planning fees.

CRUISES? Yes, 15 lines. On sailings of five nights or more, travelers receive an onboard credit of between $100 to $300.

HOTEL PERKS The average value of benefits travelers receive at each hotel is $550, according to Tom Stein, the vice president of American Express Travel. These include a space-available room upgrade, daily breakfast for two, noon check-in, when available, and a guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout, as well as an additional amenity that varies by property — examples include a spa treatment, a meal or a bottle of wine.

Andrew Harper Travel


NUMBER OF AFFILIATED HOTELS 500. The majority are 40 rooms or less.

THE COST $395 a year. In addition, advisers charge a $250 “commitment” fee which is applied to the cost of the trip once travelers book.

CRUISES? Yes, around a dozen lines. Travelers receive $100 onboard credit on every sailing.

HOTEL PERKS Benefits include daily breakfast, room upgrades upon availability or at the time of booking and an additional amenity valued at $100 that varies by property — examples include a dining credit or a cooking class.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR2 of the New York edition with the headline: Navigating the Field of Travel Networks. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe



via NYT > Travel

January 30, 2018 at 10:54AM

Update: What It’s Like to Visit San Juan Now

Update: What It’s Like to Visit San Juan Now


What It’s Like to Visit San Juan Now

After Hurricane Maria, parts of the Puerto Rican capital are back in business, including many hotels and restaurants. Tourism is down but the scene can be lively.

The food truck Pernileria los Proceres at Lote 23.CreditPaola Singer

Hurricane Maria’s devastating effects on Puerto Rico, along with the political face-offs and logistical problems that ensued, have been widely reported. There are still important problems to address. But it seems that San Juan, the capital, is start to regain its stride as a travel destination.

I first came to San Juan in the late ’80s, when my stepfather was transferred here for work. My most vivid memories of that time include swimming in the ocean at night during St. John’s Eve (one of Puerto Rico’s biggest festivals), developing a serious crush on the shaggy-haired members of the band Poison, and experiencing Hurricane Hugo, which ripped into the island on Sept. 19, 1989, and was considered the worst disaster in 50 years.

We spent the night of the storm with a family that lived in a sturdy old house about a mile away from the coast (our apartment was practically on the sand). While I realized we were properly sheltered, the furious rattle of the wind against the home’s metal shutters left me cold with fear. I didn’t know that surviving the brunt of a hurricane is only part of the ordeal, and the days that followed were not difficult enough to make me think otherwise. Brushing my teeth with bottled water and reading magazines by flashlight for a couple of weeks felt more like an adventure than a hardship. I was just a kid — and so, it turns out, was Hugo.

I left San Juan after graduating from high school, but I come back every year to visit my mother and stepfather, who are still living here as retirees. When I learned that Maria would make landfall as a possible Category 5 hurricane, memories of Hugo came flooding back, especially the eerie rattle of those shutters. Texting with my mother on the evening of Sept. 20, I felt irrationally worried that she would be scared during the storm, not guessing that the scariest part would come later.

Maria’s impact was brutal: bridges crumbled, street signs toppled over, trees were stripped bare, and practically every building suffered some sort of damage, from minor flooding to structural deterioration. Worst of all, the island’s aging power grid was wrecked, causing prolonged blackouts. Recent reports indicate that about 1.5 million Puerto Ricans, particularly those living in small towns and rural areas, are still without electricity. I booked a flight to San Juan earlier this month, somewhat unsure of what to expect.

As the airplane began its descent, the city looked unchanged, its odd mix of high rises and strip malls still surrounded by emerald-green vegetation and turquoise waters. And on the ground, I saw bruises but mostly recovery and a strong willingness to get on with life.

San Juan’s hotels, which were largely occupied by military and Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel after the hurricane, are welcoming travelers again.

On a recent afternoon, the beachfront Condado Vanderbilt, an Art Deco-style hotel founded by Frederick William Vanderbilt in 1919 and fully renovated in 2014, hummed with activity. A quartet was getting ready to play Latin jazz by the lobby’s Martini Bar, and dinner service was underway at the elegant 1919 Restaurant, whose chef, Juan José Cuevas, is helping local farmers restore their crops.

La Concha Resort and San Juan Marriott Resort, also perched on the beaches of tourist-friendly Condado, are operating as usual. In Isla Verde, another popular oceanfront neighborhood, choices include the Intercontinental San Juan and the Water Beach Club Hotel. And in cobblestoned Old San Juan, Hotel El Convento, a boutique lodging set in a refurbished 17th-century convent, is looking as picturesque as ever. Only a handful of properties remain closed.

Isla Verde beach in San Juan.CreditPaola Singer

“I believe San Juan has a bright outlook as a destination, especially as we continue to make it known that we’re back and ready to welcome tourists,” said Peter Hopgood, the vice president of sales and marketing for International Hospitality Enterprises, which manages six hotels in the metro area.

As for restaurants, closures seem to be the exception rather than the rule, although many establishments are dealing with issues like disrupted food supplies and diminished activity.

“We’re not yet seeing the same number of travelers as before Maria,” said Martín Louzao, a chef and an owner of Cincosentidos, a hospitality group that runs four restaurants. “Almost 70 percent of our business depended on them, so we’ve had to be nimble and adapt.”

For now, the industry is sustained by Puerto Ricans, who may have limited spending power but are exceptionally fond of eating out. Their gregarious spirit is palpable in Santurce, a laid-back dining district anchored by a square known as La Placita, where scores of small bars blasting salsa tunes draw nighttime crowds. The neighborhood is also home to one of San Juan’s best restaurants, Jose Enrique, run by the chef of the same name who pioneered the local farm-to-table movement. Another noteworthy destination in Santurce is Lote 23, an Instagram-ready, open-air food court that offers everything from locally sourced roasted pork to Asian noodles.

In Condado, Mr. Louzao’s Cocina Abierta, a casual restaurant with an eclectic menu of global staples, is still packed on weekend nights. And nearby Sabrina continues to serve a highly rated Sunday brunch.

“Tourism is vital to Puerto Rico’s full recovery, and the best way to support the island is by continuing to visit, stay at hotels, eat at restaurants, and buy from local businesses,” said Carla Campos Vida, the interim executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. The agency’s website, See Puerto Rico, has updates on open attractions.



via NYT > Travel

January 30, 2018 at 10:54AM