Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Travelore Tips: 14 Deals for Fall Vacations In Myrtle Beach At The Guaranteed Lowest Cost

 Vacation Myrtle Beach, a group of 14
oceanfront resorts in the Myrtle Beach area, recently released a list of the top 14 fall hotel deals at the beach.
Vacation Myrtle Beach recently released a list of its top fall deals for 14 oceanfront resorts.
Featuring deals aimed at families, couples and friends traveling, there is a deal for pretty much anyone looking
 to take a vacation this fall.

With average October highs sitting in the mid-70s, fall is the perfect time for a Myrtle Beach vacation, said
 Vacation Myrtle Beach spokesman Matt Klugman.

"The weather is perfect, the beaches are less crowded and many attractions are still open well into the fall 
season," he said. "It's really one of the best times of the year to visit, whether you come for the weekend or 
stay for a whole week."
Specials are being offered for an array of Myrtle Beach resorts including Landmark Resort, Crown Reef Resort,
 Beach Cove Resort and hotel BLUE. A variety of amenities are available at these resorts including indoor pools,
 hot tubs, oceanfront pools, lazy rivers, waterparks, putt-putt, on-site dining and more.
Offers vary based on each resort and include such deals as:
  • Beach Colony Resort: Book a suite for October and receive breakfast for two for 60 cents a day.
  • Captain's Quarters Resort: October Angle Oceanfront Suites from just $60 a night, which includes a
  •  $60 Food and Beverage Credit if you stay two nights or longer.
  • Carolina Winds Resort: Book select fall dates from just $45 a night into November.
"If you missed taking a vacation this summer or just want to spend some time at the beach this fall, we hope
 you will take advantage of one of these deals," Klugman said. "You won't regret it."
For a full list of available offers and participating resorts, click here.

About Vacation Myrtle Beach
Vacation Myrtle Beach features the lowest rates guaranteed at 14 oceanfront resorts that range from the south
 end of Myrtle Beach to North Myrtle Beach. Amenities include putt-putt, indoor and outdoor pools, lazy rivers,
 spas, dining, seasonal children's activities, mascot appearances and more. Accommodations range in size from rooms to five-bedroom condos. For more information or to make a reservation visit VacationMyrtleBeach.com or call (855) 923-7994.

10 Of The Most Haunted Spots In The USA

Whether it's seeing dead people or a mild case of the willies down in the basement, ghosts and spirits are serious topics for some people. For others, it's just a good time, with a few shrieks thrown in. The following are some of the most famous haunted structures in the U.S.

The former home of Lizzie Borden, now a restored B&B, deserves a spot on any paranormal list for form's sake.
t                       , Fall River, Mass.
OK, this one may be riding more on sheer reputation instead of the degree of hauntingness, but the former home of Lizzie Borden, now a restored B&B, deserves a spot on any paranormal list for form's sake. Borden famously was accused of murdering her sleeping father and stepmother with an ax in 1892 and people believe the spirits of the victims and Lizzie herself still haunt the house. The current owners aren't shying away from the notoriety, holding regular séances in an attempt to communicate with the former residents. They also stage ghost hunts and serve the same breakfast Andrew and Abby Borden customarily ate in an effort to attract paranormal visits, which have included disembodied footfalls and unnatural gusts of wind.

Stephen King was inspired to write "The Shining" after a stay at the Stanley Hotel in 1973.
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colo.
Stephen King was inspired to write "The Shining" after a stay at the Stanley in 1973. If that isn't proof enough that this 105-year-old hotel is creepy, I don't know what is. Guests have reported odd experiences all over the hotel, including items being moved, lights turning on and off, piano music, the sounds of children running and laughing in the halls, and guests waking up tucked firmly into their beds, as nannies would do for young children. Room 217, where King stayed, is said to be haunted by a former chief housekeeper who still tends to the room, unpacking and putting away guests' belongings among other things. Wholly embracing their legacy, the hotel shows the uncut, R-rated version of "The Shining" on a continuous loop on Channel 42 and leads a variety of ghost and paranormal tours.

The nearly 200-year-old Eastern State Penitentiary does this list proud, as it's one of the most carefully studied paranormal buildings in the USA.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pa.
No list of freaky, haunted places would be complete without a former prison, and the nearly 200-year-old Eastern State Penitentiary does this list proud, as it's one of the most carefully studied paranormal buildings in the USA. Eeriness and unexplainable visions were being reported by officers and inmates as early as the 1940s. Some 60 paranormal investigation teams explore the site every year, trying to record or video the antics of the numerous ghosts that populate the corridors and cells. Teams from SyFy's "Ghost Hunters" and the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures," "Paranormal Challenge," and "Most Haunted Live" have tried to capture evidence of these ghosts. The site has also been featured on Fox's "World's Scariest Places," TLC's "America's Ghost Hunters," and MTV's "FEAR." The prison is now a museum, open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thirty minutes north of Baton Rouge in the town of St. Francisville sits what's said to be one of the most haunted structures in America: the Myrtles Plantation.
The Myrtles Plantation, St. Francisville, La.
Thirty minutes north of Baton Rouge in the town of St. Francisville sits what's said to be one of the most haunted structures in America: the Myrtles Plantation. Built in 1796, historic tours are offered, detailing the property's history and ghostly accounts. Legend has it that (roughly) 11 people have been killed on the premises, sometimes in gruesome fashion, including a mom and her two children (poison) – the culprit, a servant, was hanged in the yard and her body was dumped in the Mississippi River; a man stabbed after a poker dispute; a tutor killed while protecting the family during a Union troop invasion during the Civil War; and a man shot on the porch by an unknown horseman. Visitors have reported hearing footsteps on the stairs at odd hours, rattling doorknobs and locks, unusual smells, rapidly changing room temperatures, moved furniture and objects simply disappearing. The Myrtles has appeared on "Unsolved Mysteries" and "Ghost Hunters," as well as being featured on The History Channel, The Travel Channel, The Learning Channel, A&E, National Geographic Explorer and Good Morning America as well as several print publications. There's an on-site bed and breakfast and restaurant, with the option of sleeping in the mansion itself, though superstitious people can opt for one of the nearby cottages.

Dating from 1851, the Marshall House has made repeated appearances on the Travel Channel both for being a great hotel and for its storied history of things bumping in the night.
The Marshall House, Savannah, Ga.
Dating from 1851, the Marshall House has made repeated appearances on the Travel Channel both for being a great hotel and for its storied history of things bumping in the night that is so dense they have actually started to keep a journal to document all the incidents. Both staff and guests routinely see men wearing Civil War uniforms (the building was used as a Union hospital in the Civil War), including a man holding his own severed arm, seeking help to reattach it. Guests have awoken with an arm outstretched as if a nurse was taking their pulse. Water faucets turn on, doorknobs wobble and unseen children are often heard playing in the hallways.

The 100-year-old Onaledge B&B hosts a small cabaret of harmless oddities, including floating orbs and energy strings, flashlights turning on and off, and doors opening and closing.
Just outside Colorado Springs, the 100-year-old Onaledge hosts a small cabaret of harmless oddities, including floating orbs and energy strings, flashlights turning on and off, and doors opening and closing. Occasionally regular characters appear to guests, like a little boy in a blue suit, a lady in a pastel Victorian dress, an older gentlemen whose pipe tobacco can sometimes be detected, and a young couple dressed in Victorian attire, flirting in the gazebo on the terrace. Unlike most haunted properties, the Onaledge doesn't actively promote its unusual happenings, though they're perfectly happy to discuss them with curious guests.

Built in 1886, The Driskill is one of the oldest operating hotels in Texas and has allegedly accumulated all manner of spirits and hauntings in its 128 years of operation.
The Driskill Hotel, Austin, Texas
Built in 1886, The Driskill is one of the oldest operating hotels in Texas and has allegedly accumulated all manner of spirits and hauntings in its 128 years of operation. Among the stories are four regular characters: Colonel Jesse Driskill, the namesake of the hotel; Mrs. Bridges, an employee of the hotel; Peter J. Lawless, a former resident of the hotel; and the hotel's most famous spirit Samantha Houston, the four-year-old daughter of a Texas Senator who died from a fall down the grand staircase in 1887 while playing with her ball. A portrait of Samantha was hung above the stairs in 1888, later moved to the fifth floor, and reports of odd incidents have been regularly reported ever since, including a disappearing ball, a child's laughter and the vandalism and disappearance of portraits of Samantha's parents that were acquired years later. Staff swear if a person gazes into Samantha's eyes for a few minutes, she will eventually grin. The band Spoon recently stayed here and sent the hotel an iPhone photo of who they believed to be Samantha. Guests have also reported hearing big band music, lights turning off, and rearranging of things in guestrooms. Singer Annie Lennox once received fashion assistance from a spirit. After laying out two dresses on her bed, she showered and returned to find one dress hung carefully in the closet while the other remained on the bed.

On June 10, 1912, one or more persons slaughtered the Josiah Moore family at the Villisca Ax Murder House in Iowa, and ever since, visitors have reported strange occurrences.
Villisca Ax Murder House, Villisca, Iowa
On June 10, 1912, one or more persons slaughtered the Josiah Moore family (the two parents and their four children) as well as two overnight guests (also children). Though the weapon – an axe belonging to Josiah Moore – was found, the investigative limitations of the time (fingerprinting was still nascent, having been introduced to the U.S. in 1906, and DNA testing was decades away) and the crime scene being disturbed by as many as 100 gawkers before authorities secured the scene, made solving the crime impossible. Since then, visitors to the Moore Home have reported strange occurrences. Paranormal investigators, such as the Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures," have studied the house and it's said that tours have included spontaneous events like children's voices, falling lamps, moving ladders and flying objects. A documentary, "Villisca: Living with a Mystery" and a book, "Dead Men Do Tell Tales" have been made detailing the events. Daytime tours and overnight stays are offered at the home, if you dare.

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is one of the best places to get uncomfortably close to the supernatural, given the hundreds of patients that died on the grounds.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (formerly known as the Weston State Hospital) is one of the best places to get uncomfortably close to the supernatural, given the hundreds of patients that died here while it was in operation between 1864 and 1994. The building and grounds are said to be haunted by spirits from as far back as the Civil War, when the asylum's grounds served as a military post. Happily showcasing its 150-year history of trepidation and death, the site now hosts regular two hour tours, which visit the asylum's four main paranormal hot spots. Those who want to court pure terror can opt for the hair-raising Ghost Hunt, an eight hour overnight paranormal escapade led by experienced ghost-hunting guides.

It's said that the spirits of patients and staff roam the corridors of the Linda Vista Community Hospital, famous for paranormal activities and investigations by paranormal groups.
Linda Vista Hospital, Los Angeles, Calif.
Built in 1904, then razed and rebuilt in 1924 the former Santa Fe Coast Lines Hospital (renamed the Linda Vista Community Hospital in 1989) was built for railroad employees. The hospital (and the neighborhood) declined in the late 1980's, finally closing in 1991. It's said that the spirits of patients and staff roam the corridors and has since become famous for paranormal activities and investigations by paranormal groups, including an overnight visit by the crew of the TV show "Ghost Adventures." The hospital is also a popular shoot location, including the films "Day of the Dead," "End of Days," and "Insidious" and TV shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Dexter" and "True Blood." The hospital was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006, then renovated and turned into a home for fixed-income seniors.

Contributed by Leif Pettersen, www.usatoday.com

Follow us on Twitter: @TraveloreReport

A New, More Relaxed Way To Cruise Through Normandy

Scenic Cruises' 128-passenger Scenic Gem debuted this summer on the Seine River in France.
Scenic Cruises' 128-passenger Scenic Gem debuted this summer on the Seine River in France. (Photo: Photo courtesy of Scenic Cruises)

ABOARD THE SCENIC GEM -- Stewart Bayford, 62, of Perth, Australia, is standing with his wife Debbie, 60, at the bar of the newest cruise ship on France's Seine River, laughing over how they ended up on board.
"It was a compromise," says the retired geophysicist, pausing to grab a glass of champagne from a passing waiter. "I wanted to go to the battlefields, Debbie wanted rest and relaxation. With this ship, we were able to get a little of both."
A little of both, indeed. In more than a week on the 128-passenger vessel, the Scenic Gem, the Bayfords have been able to spend several full days touring some of the Normandy region's most famous battlefields, including the D-Day landing beaches of World War II, as well as other historic sites, villages, cider estates and more, while still having plenty of time for relaxing on board.

"It's just been lovely," says Debbie, a retired teacher. "It's not rushed at all, and yet there are plenty of activities to do."
Looking for a cruise through France's Normandy region that is as leisurely as it is upscale? As of this summer, your best bet just might be a sailing with a company that is barely known in North America: Australia-based Scenic Cruises.
Unveiled on the Seine in late July, the Scenic Gem is a stylish, unusually all-inclusive vessel that offers a more elaborate -- and relaxed -- itinerary through the region than those available from such major North American lines as Viking, Avalon and Uniworld.
Starting with an overnight stay in Paris, the Scenic Gem spends 10 nights traveling the Seine to the Normandy coast and back -- three more than most cruise ships on the meandering waterway.
As the Bayfords experienced earlier this month during one of the vessel's first sailings, the extra time allows for an all-day excursion to the Somme battlefield of World War I -- something almost no other line offers -- as well as a more in-depth view of several charming Norman towns.
Notably, the ship stops in the provincial capital of Rouen for three nights -- one to two more than most other lines. Passengers are able to spend hours strolling its historic downtown -- full of centuries-old, half-timbered houses and a famed cathedral painted by Monet -- while still having time to take a Scenic-organized excursion to the Rouen-based French Baking and Patisserie Institute for a two-hour class. Some even had time for a second local excursion to see the Monets and other Impressionist paintings of Rouen's highly rated art museum.
Scenic also spreads stops in the Seine River towns of Les Andelys and Vernon across two days. Most lines visit them in a single day. In Les Andelys, an extended morning visit allows for a Scenic-organized tour through the Norman countryside to Lyons la Foret, a picture-perfect French village, and a trip to a local estate for a cider tasting. In Vernon, passengers bus or bike to Monet's house in nearby Giverny.
The Scenic Gem also is specially designed to travel all the way north to Honfleur, one of the region's most picturesque coastal towns. Located near the mouth of the Seine, it only can be reached by vessels with certain types of hulls, and most river ships only go as far as Rouen or Caudebec-en-Caux. Alas, as of this month the line has yet to win approval from French authorities for the stop and instead is docking the Scenic Gem at a charmless industrial shipping area in nearby Le Havre (Scenic officials say they should have permission for the Honfleur stop for the 2015 season).
In addition to a longer trip on the Seine, Scenic is touting a more intimate and all-inclusive experience than what is offered by many river lines.
For starters, the Scenic Gem offers more space per passenger than many of its competitors. Four Viking and AmaWaterways vessels on the Seine, for instance, are roughly the same size as the Scenic Gem but pack in 22 more people. An Avalon Waterways ship is the same size but carries 12 more passengers. Among lines targeting North Americans, only Uniworld and Tauck offer a more intimate experience with similarly sized vessels carrying just 118 passengers.
With a crew of 42, the Scenic Gem also has a higher crew-to-passenger ratio than many of its competitors. Every cabin on the Scenic Gem comes with private butler service, and the ship has its own on-call masseuse and hairdresser. Again, only Uniworld and Tauck offer a higher crew-to-passenger ratio on the Seine.
Still, where the Scenic Gem really stands out is in its all-inclusiveness. Scenic includes unlimited complimentary beverages in its fares. Sodas, mineral water, espresso drinks, wine, beer and even premium spirits are available with meals, at the bar or even from cabin minibars for no extra charge at any time. Many other Seine cruise operators only offer complimentary wine and beer with lunch and dinner (Uniworld and Tauck are exceptions here, too, with both also offering unlimited complimentary beverages).
In addition, gratuities on Scenic as well as shore tours and airport transfers are included in fares. So much is included, in fact, that the line doesn't even bother to swipe credit cards when passengers arrive. Many leave without a bill.
"It's the way to go," says Jan Cattanach, 67, of Warialda, Australia, echoing many of the ship's passengers. "It's absolutely wonderful to know you've paid for everything up front."
Like Cattanach, by far the majority of passengers on the Scenic Gem are from Australia. Well known in the country, Scenic Cruises until recently wasn't even marketing in the United States, and despite recent efforts, still is drawing just a handful of Americans. On this sailing, there are just four Americans. There are eight passengers from the UK, six Canadians, two New Zealanders and 98 Australians.
The result is a cruise that at times has a distinctly different feel than a similar sailing with a North America-based line. As a group, the Australians on board are much more lively -- and social -- than one would find with the passengers on a North American ship. Singles and even couples sitting alone in the lounge will find that they are quickly pulled into the nearest group for conversation -- whether they want to be or not. Happy hour starts early, and there is often dancing late into the night.
"They're a fun group of people, very outgoing and friendly," says one of the few Americans on board, Mark Lassman, 67, of Weston, Fla. "We've felt very comfortable."
Modern and stylish, the Scenic Gem's rooms are relatively big for a river ship in Europe, though still small compared to high-end ocean ships and hotels on land. Each room boasts a sleek if somewhat small wall storage unit and beds topped with white-on-white Egyptian linens. Nearly every room also comes with a small balcony area -- a relatively rarity on river ships. Cabin bathrooms feature walk-in showers, high-end Duravit sinks and top-of-the-line Dornbracht fixtures (a handful of top suites also have Duravit bathtubs).
The cuisine in the Scenic Gem's main dining room, too, is relatively upscale -- at least for river cruising. Multi-course meals arrive elegantly plated, though as cruising regular Lassman notes, the food isn't nearly as gourmet as what is found on top ocean ships.
"You don't have the variety for one thing," says the veteran of more than 30 ocean cruises on lines such as Regent Seven Seas and Oceania. Dinner menus feature a choice of just three main courses that change daily, he notes, as well as a few always-available items.
Once per cruise, passengers also have the chance to dine at L'Amour, a fine dining restaurant with around 20 seats carved out of a corner of the main lounge. It offers a more drawn-out, six-course meal. During the day, the same space is used for a casual, self-serve lunch service.
Passengers in the most expensive top deck rooms also receive an invitation once per cruise to a special table in the dining room, Table La Rive, for a six course meals with premium wines.
All of the extra perks and all-inclusiveness come at a price, alas. Fares for the Scenic Gem's 10-night Seine cruises start at nearly $600 per person, per day -- far higher than many of its rivals. Avalon and Viking's Seine cruises, by contrast, start at around $350 and $200 per day, respectively.
Still, passengers on board say it's worth the cost. As the Bayfords of Perth note, the crew on board is a delight -- upbeat, friendly and engaging. They seemingly work around-the-clock to make the experience wonderful for passengers.
Says Stewart Bayford on the last day as the ship pulls back into Paris: "We just filled in the questionnaire, and I honestly couldn't find any reason to be critical."
For a deck-by-deck look at the Scenic Gem, click through the carousel below.
Contributed by Gene Sloan, USA TODAY
Follow us on Twitter: @TraveloreReport

Travelore Report, Monthly In Print Since 1971: Travelore News: Lufthansa Publishes Special Flight...

Travelore Report, Monthly In Print Since 1971: Travelore News: Lufthansa Publishes Special Flight...: More than half of long-haul flights from Frankfurt will operate In relation to the renewed strike announced by the Vereinigung Cockpit...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Travelore News: Lufthansa Publishes Special Flight Timetable For September 30th Reflecting Flight Reductions Due To Strike

More than half of long-haul flights from Frankfurt will operate

In relation to the renewed strike announced by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots‘ union, Lufthansa has canceled 25 long-haul flights from Frankfurt for Tuesday, September 30. A total of 57 intercontinental flights were originally scheduled from Frankfurt tomorrow and 32 of those are planned to depart. Of those 32 flights, 26 will be flown by volunteer pilots, two others will depart earlier and four have been deferred to the following day (Wednesday). All the details on flight cancellations and flight-departure changes are listed in the Lufthansa special flight timetable, which has been published on the www.LH.com website.

The Lufthansa hub in Munich will not be impacted by the strike: Flights to and from Düsseldorf and short-haul flights from and to Frankfurt will also operate as scheduled. Furthermore, flights operated by the Lufthansa Group airlines Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings, SWISS and Air Dolomiti (OS, SN, 4U, LX, EN) will not be affected either.

This fifth strike action within just four weeks will hit Lufthansa in the busiest air-traffic month of the year. Both the number of scheduled flights, as well as capacities, are traditionally at their highest level over the year at the end of September. Moreover, it is especially difficult at the end of the month to change crewing rosters and get pilots to volunteer for flights because planning options are restricted by the monthly limits on pilots’ flight-duty hours. Furthermore, Lufthansa is barred from resorting to night flights by the stringent night-flight ban after 11 p.m. at its home base in Frankfurt.

“Even if we manage under these difficult conditions to get more than half our scheduled long-haul flights from Frankfurt off the ground with volunteer crews tomorrow (Tuesday), the walkout will again severely damage our reputation and erode confidence in our airline’s reliability. The VC union’s repeated resort to strike action will damage Lufthansa with unforeseeable consequences for all 120,000 employees, including the pilots,” emphasized Kay Kratky, member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board with responsibility for Operations and the Frankfurt Hub. “We apologize explicitly for the measures taken by the VC union, which is the only collective bargaining partner at Lufthansa intent on uncompromising and inconsiderate pursuit of its individual interests.”

Passengers whose flights have to be canceled due to the strike can rebook or cancel their flight free-of-charge. Furthermore, all passengers scheduled to fly tomorrow (September 30) with Lufthansa or any of the Group airlines from or to Frankfurt may also rebook a flight once at a later date during the present year free-of-charge.

In order to ensure that flight operations go ahead as smoothly as possible once again on Wednesday, Lufthansa is today also canceling flights from abroad to Frankfurt. The connections, which are affected, are also listed in the special flight timetable on the www.LH.com website.

All Lufthansa passengers with long-haul tickets from and to Frankfurt are kindly requested to check the status of their flights on the LH.com website well before the scheduled departure time.

Hong Kong's Newest Art Galleries And trendiest Restaurants

Hong Kong: a place bursting at the seams in almost every sense of the phrase. Like any politically charged city, there’s an undercurrent of creativity that provides an outlet for Hong Kong’s rebellious streak, translating into a clutch of interesting food experiences, design ideas and artistic endeavours. 
Ping Pong Gintonería in Hong Kong. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely PlanetPing Pong Gintonería, one of Hong Kong's hip new bars. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet
Here’s our guide to sampling what’s hip in Hong Kong and uncovering the local heart of this Asian metropolis along the way.

New art galleries

Hong Kong may not be the first on a contemporary art lover’s guide to world cities, but Hong Kongers are at an interesting moment in their history. The decades following the handover from British to Chinese rule have led Hong Kong to question its identity and search for its roots, and these undercurrents have sprung into a unique art scene, which nowadays culminates in the annual Art Basel Hong Kong (hongkong.artbasel.com), which showcases predominantly works from Asian and Hong Kong-based artists and galleries every March.
Exhibit by artist Mak Ying Tung at Gallery Exit. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely PlanetExhibit by artist Mak Ying Tung at Gallery Exit. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet
Art tends to seek unrefined spaces to thrive, and the rising rent prices and dearth of venue spaces have led many Hong Kong gallery owners to abandoned or run-down high-rise warehouses in Aberdeen, a quiet fishing village transforming itself on the south side of Hong Kong Island.
Lorries carrying rice and veg now compete with art trucks delivering massive sculptures to and from several high-rise warehouses here. Spring Workshop (springworkshop.org) is one such venue, a rotating gallery of local exhibitions alongside a sleek, warm residency space where artists can live, work and eat. There’s also an outdoor terrace where they host public film screenings and concerts.
In the next high-rise over, Gallery EXIT (galleryexit.com) produces cutting edge exhibitions by local artists and some from around Asia, many speaking to contemporary realities of life in Hong Kong and how the city’s varied history has informed current cultural trends.
Local designs at PMQ. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely PlanetLocal designs at PMQ. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet
Back in Central, PMQ is a new design centre on Hollywood Rd that's doing its part to revive this historic part of Hong Kong. Based in the old Police Married Quarters (hence the name), several levels of former apartments have been transformed into gallery spaces where artists and designers can work, connect with the public and sell their wares.

Hip restaurants and bars

The ‘death of fine dining’ is finally arriving in Hong Kong, a city that until recently was littered with high-end restaurants that only corporate budgets could afford. There’s still plenty of top-shelf food to be found in Hong Kong, but those not on an expense account will be pleasantly surprised by the arrival of small, specialist restaurants. Usually run by individual, up-and-coming chefs, these hotspots serve one or two things very well. New takes on old favourites are popping up everywhere, as are exciting fusions of east and west.
Chef May Chow and staff at Little Bao. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely PlanetChef May Chow and staff at Little Bao. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet
Leading the tradition-bucking charge is Little Bao, a tiny, rectangular space with bar stool seating along the open kitchen. It’s located, appropriately, across from the PMQ design centre. Bao, an Asian-style sandwich served on steamed a steamed bun, is the order of the day here. But renegade chef May Chow has playfully mixed up her American and Hong Kong backgrounds to make what she calls 'Asian burgers'. The menu is extremely small and rotates around the signature pork belly bao (a must), with a few side-dishes that will surprise (mac and cheese made from rice cakes rather than pasta), and the make-your-life green tea ice cream dessert burger.
New kid on the block, Ho Lee Fook (holeefook.com.hk), whose puntastic name actually means 'good fortune for your mouth' in Cantonese, is making waves on the Hong Kong scene with its avant-garde menu and massive cocktails cooked up by another young chef and food fanatic Jowett Yu from Taiwan.
With rents often being hiked in space-deprived Hong Kong, many chefs are turning to their own personal spaces and creating private kitchens that a maximum of one or two groups of diners can attend per evening. One of the most atmospheric private kitchens in Hong Kong is that of Margaret Xu. A self-taught chef, Margaret is known for her use of historic Hong Kong cooking techniques and has recently opened a special new kitchen at her beachhouse, Ying Yang Coastal (yinyang.hk). Margaret devises a ‘fantasy menu’ based on what she can get that day at local markets, what fish she catches herself and what herbs and veg she’s grown in the front garden. You’ll need to get a group of eight together to book the single private table.
Fresh herbs on the menu at Yin Yang Coastal. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely PlanetFresh herbs on the menu at Yin Yang Coastal. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet
Hong Kong's nightlife scene is slowly expanding west from the night owls' bastion of Lan Kwai Fong - the traditional heart of Hong Kong drinking - into historic neighbourhoods where unusual spaces are being converted into new-use bars and lounges. One such space is Ping Pong Gintonería (pingpong129.com) in relatively quiet Sai Ying Pun district. Built out of a former ping pong gymnasium, this is a hidden bar specialising in gin - a most refreshing tipple in Hong Kong’s hot and humid climate. The bar itself has no English sign; look for the Chinese characters for ‘ping pong’ (乒乓球) displayed above a red door on Second St, and descend into the delightfully restored open lounge, complete with the former ping pong club’s neon sign hung above the bar.
Terrace at Yinyang Coastal. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely PlanetTerrace at Yinyang Coastal. Image by Megan Eaves / Lonely Planet
Or, opt to get an insider's tour of all of the above from Little Adventures in Hong Kong (littleadventuresinhk.com), a group of locals who put together bespoke private tours of Hong Kong's secret corners, including a breathless nightlife tour with city socialite Johannes Pong.
Megan Eaves is Lonely Planet's North Asia Destination Editor. If lost, she could very well be found guzzling wonton soup down one of Hong Kong's dai pai dong. You can follow her on Twitter @megoizzy.
Megan travelled to Hong Kong with support from the Hong Kong Tourism Board (www.discoverhongkong.com). Lonely Planet contributors do not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/china/hong-kong/travel-tips-and-articles/hip-hong-kong-new-art-galleries-and-trendy-restaurants#ixzz3EiuRy0bt

Follow us on Twitter: @TraveloreReport

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Travelore Report, Monthly In Print Since 1971: Oktoberfest 2014 Guide, Everything You Need To Kno...

Travelore Report, Monthly In Print Since 1971: Oktoberfest 2014 Guide, Everything You Need To Kno...: The Oktoberfest takes place in Munich between September 20 and October 5. Find out about the festival, booking hotels, tickets, location...

Travelore Tips: 10 Smart Ways To Get A Free Upgrade On Any Trip


After a long day of travel woes, nothing calms and excites the soul like a free upgrade.
And whether on a flight or at your hotel, there are smart ways to secure a free upgrade beyond the typical "it's my anniversary" ploy. So we turned to air travel expert George Hobica of Airfarewatchdog and other HuffPost/Travelore Report bloggers for some tips.
Get a little savvy, and...
Use your miles for an upgrade. 
Remember that airline miles aren't just for booking flights -- on many airlines, they can be used to upgrade an existing ticket as well. It's best to check online for available upgrades three or four days before your flight, says Hobica. Calling the airline to ask in realtime helps, too.
Book with a site that monitors price dips.
Websites like tingo.com will "monitor your hotel reservation, and if a better room becomes available at the same price, they will alert you and offer to upgrade you," says Hobica. THAT'S a sweet deal.
Check in late at your hotel.
Later in the day, hotels usually have a better idea of precisely which rooms are booked for the night. That means they'll be in a better position to dish out an upgrade if you ask for one.
Volunteer to swap flights before they call volunteers.
When flights are overbooked, airlines will sometimes offer vouchers to passengers who volunteer to switch to a later flight. The value of these vouchers will often rise as the need for volunteers becomes more desperate. However, it may be most lucrative to approach the gate agent before this whole process starts and tell them you'd be happy to volunteer in exchange for the best voucher deal of the day.
Just ASK.
Whether at an airline or hotel check-in, the boldness of simply asking for an upgradecan pay off. If there's a last-minute suite or first-class seat, there's no reason it can't be yours.
Be really nice.
When you do approach the airline desk or hotel check-in to ask for an upgrade, being nice dramatically increases your chances of getting an offer. According to Hobica, the logic is simple: "Most people are NOT really nice at check in... Try being nice, and ask. If the hotel isn’t full, they may give you a better room. I do this all the time."
Dress really nicely.
Likewise, looking the part of an upgraded client can earn you the status of an upgraded client. When airlines have a last-minute spot in first class, Hobica says, "Who do you think they'll upgrade? The slob, or the guy in the suit?"
Become a frequent flier (or a frequent hotel stay-er).
Many times, an airline will offer available upgrades to members of its elite programbefore it offers them to other passengers. Stay in the same hotel chain frequently to reap the perks (not just upgraded rooms, but manicures and late checkout, too!) that come with being a loyal guest.
Tip, just a little.
So it's not really a "free" upgrade if you offer a tip, but just a little bit of cash can go a long way. That's because it's not about the money -- it's about the gesture. "Tipping is kindness," explains hotel veteran Jacob Tomsky. "It's hard to express kindness in today's lightning-fast world."
Celebrate an "un-special" occasion.
When desk agents hear about birthdays and anniversaries all the time, you can imagine they don't find them very "special" or worthy of an upgrade anymore, explains Tomsky. He says he would most likely dole out an upgrade to a guest who is "celebrating" a divorce... do with that information what you will.
 | By 

Follow us on Twitter: @TraveloreReport