Saturday, May 27, 2017

Travelore Report, Monthly In Print Since 1971: Having A #BBQ...? Here's A Good #Wine Pairing Guid...

Travelore Report, Monthly In Print Since 1971: Having A #BBQ...? Here's A Good #Wine Pairing Guid...: Shared by Ken @ alawine

Friday, May 26, 2017

Trump’s Luxury Hotel In New York, Once Hot, Now Is Not

Discount property.
Discount property. (Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)

First went the professional athletes. Then went the sushi restaurant. Now employees and a fixture of a five-star hotel—turndown service—are the latest to go from a five-star Trump hotel in lower Manhattan.
The 391-room Trump SoHo in lower Manhattan is laying off staff amid a slump in business and asking for less than $400 a night from previous rates of around $700, according to WNYC.
The five-star property, which gets high marks from many guests, is taking its downmarket turn just four months after Donald Trump, whose company runs the hotel, took the US presidency.
Trump opposers such as basketball star LeBron James and even entire NBA teams have refused to stay at Trump-branded properties. WNYC reported a downturn in corporate event bookings at the hotel, which had booked events for companies like Amazon and GE. Celebrities and regular diners have stayed far enough away from hotel sushi restaurant Koi that the eatery last month announced it would close. A server told Grub Street that “the Kardashians stopped coming.”
A hotel spokeswoman told Quartz that “as is common in the hotel industry, and in any business, we continually assess our offerings and services.”
It isn’t entirely clear what is the source of the hotel’s woes. Trump’s new hotel in Washington, just steps from the White House, is humming despite protests about potential conflicts of interest.
But others in Trump’s hometown have shown an aversion to his name. Residents of the Trump Place complex on Manhattan’s West Side petitioned for the president’s name to be removed from the buildings’ fa├žades. And, of course, Trump lost all but Staten Island to Hillary Clinton in voting during the presidential campaign.
A slide in the SoHo hotel’s popularity defies lodging trends in New York City. The number of hotels in the city by the end of 2016 was 631, up nearly 30% from 2011, the year after the Trump SoHo opened, according to data from hotel-analysis firm STR. Occupancy is also up, to 86% last year from 82% in 2011, even as the popularity of home-and-room-sharing platform Airbnb has surged.
Things could get worse for Trump SoHo. In the wake of Trump’s ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries, New York’s tourist agency forecast the city’s first decline in foreign visitors since the 2008 financial crisis.

Philadelphia's July 4th Celebration Features 50 Free Events

WAWA WELCOME AMERICA 2017 FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 50 FREE EVENTS CELEBRATING
THE NATION’S INDEPENDENCE DAY, JUNE 29 – JULY 4, 2017

New Events, Time Honored Traditions and a Few Surprises for 2017

The Honorable James F. Kenney, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, and Welcome America, Inc. today announced 50 free events that will create the 2017 Wawa Welcome America six-day festival Thursday, June 29 through Tuesday, July 4. The Wawa Welcome America festival celebrates American history, education and Philadelphia. The 2017 festival will encompass free, patriotic events throughout the City and concludes with 12 hours of non-stop commemorations and celebrations on July 4th. The theme of this year’s 25th Anniversary Wawa Welcome America is “Everyone is a History Maker.”

Every day of the festival, there will be a Philadelphia museum open to all for free and simultaneous free events all around town for all ages designed with wide-appeal: families, the 21+ Millennial crowd, multicultural, multigenerational, and all are inclusive and open to all. Events include free major concerts, block parties, art exhibitions, movie screenings, and educational events.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, June 29 at noon at Independence Mall in Philadelphia’s Historic District with the annual Wawa Hoagie Day honoring U.S. troops and concludes on July 4 with the most patriotic events right where it all began at Independence National Historical Park plus the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert and Fireworks starring Mary J. Blige and The Philly POPS® BIG Band on the stage in front of the Philadelphia Museum of ArtThe Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert will honor Philadelphia hometown icons Boyz II Men, the best-selling R&B group of all time with an astounding 64 million albums sold.

The festival schedule has not-to-be-missed events and they are all FREE.  A festival schedule and event details can be found at the brand new WelcomeAmerica.com.  Festival brochures can be found at local Wawa stores in five states – PA, NJ, DE, MD and VA. Downloadable festival guides are available at NBCPhiladelphia.com. Festival guides in Spanish can be found at both WelcomeAmerica.com and  Telemundo62.comWawa Welcome America offers hotel packages and travel offers at WelcomeAmerica.com. Another great comprehensive travel resource for planning a trip is VisitPhilly.com.

Wawa Welcome America 2017 festival highlights:

A BIG KICK-OFF TO THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY
It all starts with Wawa Hoagie Day – Kicking off the festival on Thursday, June 29 at noon at the National Constitution Center at Independence Mall is the crowd-favorite Wawa Hoagie Day. The 25th annual Wawa Hoagie Day honors U.S. troops. Witness a 6-ton hoagie salute, enjoy free Wawa hoagies, a performance by the USO Show Troupe, and a hoagie building competition of enormous proportions between police and firefighters. In addition, the National Constitution Center is open for free courtesy of Wawa. Thursday, June 29 from 12 – 2 p.m.

Wawa Welcome America Debut! Culture on Tap presented by the Mayor’s Office of Arts & Culture and Parks & Recreation that together developed a pop-up beer garden with cultural entertainment in City Hall’s Courtyard. Culture on Tap is Philadelphia’s highly popular mobile beer garden. Thursday, June 29 from 4 – 9 p.m.

Wawa Welcome America Debut! Food Trust's Night Market Spruce Hill: Independence Day Weekend Edition at 40th & Walnut Streets will offer a unique family-friendly culinary experience with street eats, live music and neighborhood pride. This is the Food Trust’s debut in West Philadelphia. Thursday, June 29 from 6 – 10 p.m.

NEW EVENTS FESTIVAL-WIDE
More Fireworks! Four Fireworks Shows including two July 4th Shows around 9:30 p.m. on the Delaware River and at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Schuylkill River – Three fireworks shows, presented by NBCUniversal and Pyrotecnico, will paint Philadelphia’s skies red, white and blue. In 2016, USA Today named Philadelphia’s Wawa Welcome America Fireworks on their list of “10 of the nation’s Best 4th of July Fireworks Shows.”
  • Wawa Welcome America Fireworks presented by NBCUniversal and Pyrotecnico will take place over the Delaware River Waterfront. Official viewing areas include the Delaware River Waterfront, SugarHouse Casino, and One Liberty Observation Deck. Friday, June 30 and Saturday, July 1 at 9:30 p.m.
  • The grand finale includes two simultaneous shows, the Wawa Welcome America Fireworks presented by NBCUniversal and Pyrotecnico over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on the Schuylkill River partners with The Freedom Festival Fireworks at Wiggins Park over the Delaware River Waterfront sponsored by the Camden County Chosen Board of Freeholders. Official viewing areas include the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Schuylkill River, the Delaware River Waterfront, SugarHouse Casino, and One Liberty Observation Deck.  Tuesday, July 4 at 9:30 p.m.

New! Events for Millennials 21+
SugarHouse Casino’s Red, White & Brew will feature an evening of great food, drinks, and entertainment by Mo Lowda and the Humble along the Delaware River Waterfront. Following the food and music, attendees can enjoy the spectacular fireworks show as SugarHouse Casino is an official viewing area for fireworks. Saturday, July 1 from 5 – 9 p.m.

New! Red, White and Blue Happy Hours & Brunches – A new version of the previous Wawa Welcome America event called “Taste of Philadelphia” returns in a brand new format of Fourth of July themed happy hours and brunches with food, crafty cocktails, and live entertainment at individual restaurants.  Participating restaurants include: Moshulu, Art Bar | Sonesta, City Tap House Logan, Cafe Cret, Midtown Continental. For a complete list of restaurants and bars, visit WelcomeAmerica.com.
  • Friday, June 29 from 4 – 7 p.m. kick off the holiday weekend at a featured happy hour location for the chance to grab some July 4th swag and enter to win two tickets for a VIP experience at the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert and Fireworks. Visit  WelcomeAmerica.com for a complete list of happy hour locations.
  • Sunday, July 2 enjoy a Red, White and Brunch at featured Philly favorite brunch spots. Visit WelcomeAmerica.com for a complete list of brunch locations.

New! The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Independence Weekend Salute to Musical Theater at Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party on July 3 on the Freedom Stage – For the first time during Wawa Welcome America, Broadway shows will be performed in Philadelphia’s Historic District. The star-studded lineup gives audiences a sneak peek at the 2017-2018 Broadway Philadelphia season featuring performances from some of Broadway’s hottest shows coming straight to Philadelphia. Monday, July 3. Time TBD.

New Twist!  A Wawa Welcome America Favorite Returns, the Sand Sculpture Spectacular – 2017 will see the return of the art of sand sculpting. Beginning June 20, world-renowned sculptors will transform the Rotunda at The Shops at Liberty Place into a Sand Sculpture Spectacular with hand-carved scenes depicting Philadelphia icons and historic figures out of 24 tons of sand. Attendees can also see a pop-up sculpture in the neighboring One Liberty Observation Deck. Debuts June 20 through the month of July.

New Events in More Philadelphia Neighborhoods Presented by Wells Fargo and produced by The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, and Wawa Welcome America – Citywide Community Day Performances in Public Spaces, will showcase ten performers in ten different neighborhoods across Philadelphia as well as a fun activity for attendees to enjoy. Performances are FREE and family friendly ranging from hip hop dancing, jazz, capoeira, and storytelling performed in historic homes, public parks and squares, and plazas that are in the heart of these communities. Saturday, July 1. Times vary.
WAWA WELCOME AMERICA TRADITIONS
PECO GO 4th & Learn  Wawa Welcome America is about engaging children throughout Philadelphia with educational activities, to encourage learning while school is out for the summer. Courtesy of Books In Homes USA, 9,000 free books will be provided to children. Beneficial Bank and Beneficial Foundation games and activities on financial literacy will travel to all events, and additional free giveaways will be provided for kids to enjoy. Go 4th & Learn’s fun educational interactive activities and demonstrations highlight American history, financial literacy, STEM, Spanish language, fitness & health, and arts & culture at the Mummers Museum, Fairhill Square, and the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Free Museum Days  Five days of free admission to ten museums including the National Constitution Center (courtesy of Wawa), the Penn Museum, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site (evening), the African American Museum in Philadelphia, One Liberty Observation Deck (morning), Philadelphia Museum of Art (pay what you wish), The Barnes Foundation (courtesy of PECO), the National Liberty Museum, the Philadelphia History Museum, and The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University.

Philly @ The Movies presented by St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children  When the sun goes down, the screens go up for free movies under the stars. Three free outdoor movie screenings will take place at The Piazza at Schmidt’s, the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Franklin Square.

Free Concerts – The highlight of every Wawa Welcome America festival is all the free musical entertainment. This year’s concert lineup includes:
  • Free family-friendly performances citywide including The Mummers Museums’ Summer Mummers Concert, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” June 29 – July 1 at 8 p.m. Various Locations.
  • Philadelphia’s Historic District Block Party on July 3 will feature three performance stages for artists to showcase their freedom of expression; the arts, music and speech. The Block Party will be followed by a performance by The Philly POPS in front of Independence Hall at a new time beginning at 7 p.m. Bring your picnic baskets and your friends.  Monday, July 3 from 12 – 8 p.m.

A BIG TUESDAY, JULY 4TH TO CONCLUDE THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY
Celebration of Freedom Ceremony – On the morning of July 4, The City of Philadelphia’s Office of the City Representative will present the Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at Independence Hall at 10 a.m. where Philadelphia’s music icons Boyz II Men will be honored for their achievements in music and philanthropy. The Philly POPS® BIG Band debuts. The Wawa Foundation will also present The Wawa Foundation Hero Award. The award is presented to a non-profit organization that is committed to serving the greater Philadelphia area. Financial grants of $80,000 will be awarded. Mayor Kenney will present the Magis Award to Philadelphia Hometown Hero Ralph Galati. Mr. Galati’s service has been honored with The Silver Star, The Bronze Star with Valor with one Oak Leaf Cluster, The Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Cluster, The Air Force Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Cluster and The Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster.  Tuesday, July 4 at 10 a.m.

Independence Day Parade – 4,000 marchers will parade through Historic Philadelphia during the patriotic Independence Day Parade. Tuesday, July 4 at 11 a.m.

All-Day Entertainment and Commemorative Events
 – Enjoy FREE entertainment on Independence Mall while exploring Philadelphia’s Historic District.
  • Join Independence National Historical Park for its annual Let Freedom Ring Ceremony which begins at 1 p.m. behind Independence Hall followed by a Bell Tapping Ceremony at 
1:45 p.m. at the Liberty Bell Center (plan to be in line by 1 p.m.).
  • 6th Annual Birthday Party at the Independence Visitor Center hosted by Betsy Ross and Termini Bros. Bakery – A spectacular five-tier cake will be decorated and 2,500 cupcakes displayed in the shape of an American flag at the Visitor Center throughout the morning starting at 9 a.m. The birthday celebration begins at 1 p.m. when Betsy Ross will lead the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday.” Stop by after the parade for a slice of cake. First come, first served.
  • On July 4, the Betsy Ross House hosts a Children’s Naturalization Ceremony. Sponsored by the Flag House Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, witness 13 children take the Oath of Citizenship in this moving ceremony at 1:30 p.m.

THE PARTY ON THE PARKWAY
Enjoy five blocks of FREE entertainment, food and fun for all ages July 4 from 12 noon to 7 p.m. at Party on the Parkway.  Families can enjoy an interactive kid’s area featuring the Strider Bikes obstacle course, Zipline, games, and make-and-take arts and crafts. Animal lovers can bring their furry friends to enjoy the Amtrak Pet Friendly area. The 21+ crowd can kick back and relax in two beer gardens, and all can enjoy the diverse food and music from the Philly Groove stage.

LIVE NATION PHILADELPHIA PRODUCES THE JULY 4TH CONCERT ON THE PARKWAY
  • For the second year, KIDZ BOP Kids will perform the group’s only free live concert on July 4 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 1 p.m. on the main stage. Bring the kids!
  • The Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert on Independence Day is free, open to the public and begins promptly at 7 p.m. (a new time). Celebrity performances on the iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway will headline the non-stop live concert featuring food trucks, beer gardens and fun activities. Performers include:
    • Musical pioneer and “the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul,” Mary J. Blige, her only free concert in America during her “Strength of a Woman” tour.

    • A ceremony honoring Philadelphia hometown icons Boyz II Men.

    • The Philly POPS® BIG Band joined by Mandy Gonzalez from the Tony Award-winning hit musicals Hamilton, In the Heights and Wicked, and Billboard top 10 jazz singer, pianist and songwriter Tony DeSare. The POPS were the first performers at the very first free concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 1993.

THE POWER OF COMCAST NBCUNIVERSAL AND NBC10 & TELEMUNDO62
Through the combined assets of Comcast NBCUniversal, Philadelphians across the region will be able to experience the iconic celebration on television and online on NBC10, Telemundo62, Cozi TV, TCN, and TeleXitos. NBC10 will broadcast the Wawa Welcome America July 4th Concert and Fireworks live during primetime in its entirety from 7 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4 and in Spanish on Telemundo62 from 7 to 8 p.m. The free concert will also be live streamed on NBCPhiladelphia.com and  Telemundo62.com.

SPONSORS MAKE IT ALL FREE!
2017 sponsors/partners of the festival include The City of Philadelphia, Wawa, Comcast NBCUniversal, Live Nation Philadelphia, Philadelphia International Airport, Visit Philadelphia, One Liberty Observation Deck, PECO, Wells Fargo, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, SugarHouse Casino, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Amtrak, Beneficial Bank, Beneficial Foundation, Pennsylvania Lottery, Pyrotecnico, The Schmidt’s Commons, The Shops at Liberty Place, Sonesta Philadelphia, Tastykake, Books In Homes USA, Aetna, Moshulu, Keystone Property Group, Old City District, Kindy’s, and Global Philadelphia. Sponsorship opportunities are still available, emailinformation@welcomeamerica.com for more information. 

About Welcome America, Inc.
Welcome America, Inc. is a 501c3, non-profit organization in public-private partnership with the City of Philadelphia. Welcome America, Inc.’s mission is to promote American history, education and Philadelphia. The organization seeks to enhance the resident and visitor experience through citywide events that provide an economic boost to the local economy. Moving forward, Welcome America, Inc. will produce and assist in the growth of select city events year-round that can increase awareness of Philadelphia as an event destination.

For more information, visit  www.WelcomeAmerica.com. Join the conversation at:


People In The U.S. Can Travel Like A King, Without The Royal Price Tag




With Hotels.com® traveling like royalty wasn't hard for U.S. vacationers in 2016. According to their latest
 Hotel Price Index™ (HPI®), there was a range of popular European and Asian cities with average prices
 hovering between $150-200 per night on Hotels.com, while Austin's 5-star average fell massively from
 $533 to $278 with new 4-star inventory creating competition. Even though some luxury hotels remained
 pricey for American travelers, the 4-star and 3-star categories proved to be more affordable and just as
 accommodating, with a huge range of domestic, Asian, European and other international cities offering
 rates under $150 per night.
Star rating category for $150 or less per night:
  • In the 5-star category on Hotels.com, there were three beautiful destinations available for
  •  $150 or less: Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Istanbul.
  • There was a much wider choice at the 4-star level with 30 destinations, including eight U.S.
  •  favorites such as Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Tucson. Europe and Asia each had eight
  •  destinations in this category, including many of the regular crowd-pleasers, such as Beijing, 
  • Berlin, Madrid, Phuket and Prague. Latin America had four representatives at this level,
  •  including Buenos Aires and Mexico City. Dubai and Melbourne completed this group.
  • Many U.S. cities were among the 48 destinations in the 3-star category, stretching from Orlando, 
  • Florida to Portland, Oregon. Canada made its first appearance with Montreal, Niagara Falls,
  •  Toronto and Vancouver. Perennial and typically expensive favorites, London and Paris had
  •  3-star averages under $150. Cancun and other Mexican resorts rounded out the list.
The star rating that was purchased by U.S. travellers on Hotels.com for $150 a night or less on 
average in selected cities in 2016
City
Country
<$150
Bangkok
Thailand
5
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
5
Istanbul
Turkey
5
Berlin
Germany
4
Las Vegas, NV
U.S.A.
4
Phuket
Thailand
4
London
United Kingdom
3
Orlando, FL
U.S.A.
3
Paris
France
3
Los Angeles, CA
U.S.A.
2
New York, NY
U.S.A.
2
Washington, DC
U.S.A.
2
Venice
Italy
1
Hotel star ratings explained
There is no universal star rating system. Each country has its own and, in some cases such as the UK,
 more than one. This means that travelers should be aware of a possible disparity of standards and
 facilities when booking rooms with the same star ratings in different countries.
Checking out guest reviews is another way of judging the standard of a hotel. Hotels.com has more
 than 25 million verified guest reviews from people who have actually stayed in the hotels and their
opinions can really help you make up your mind as to whether you have found the best fit to have the
 most rewarding travel experience possible.
What's a star worth?
Looking for a budget weekend away, just for a change, or a luxury break for that special occasion?
 Then check out the price by star rating information shown here to see how to stretch your budget that
 little bit further. For instance, if value is more important than location, 5-star accommodation in many
 destinations off the beaten track can be booked for the same amount as lower star categories in more
 familiar locations. Want an upgrade? Moving up a star rating may not cost as much as you think. And
 alternatively, going down a star could save quite a bit in some cases, especially if the amenities provided
by that extra star are not vital to your stay.
Pro traveller tip: look for hotels with guest ratings much higher than their star ratings for superb value.
Living the luxury life
  • The sum of $448 separated the highest and lowest averages paid for a single night in 5-star
  •  hotels across the world's most popular cities for U.S. travelers. Reykjavik topped the list at
  •  $572 a night. U.S. cities occupied five places in the top 10 highest 5-star prices paid, with 
  • Anaheim, Charlotte and Honolulu near the top.
  • The lowest 5-star averages were recorded in Istanbul, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City. For the
  •  price of just one night in Reykjavik, U.S. travelers could have enjoyed four nights in a 5-star
  •  hotel in the Thai or Turkish capitals. The lowest U.S. 5-star rate was recorded in Las Vegas
  •  at $232.
Top 10 lowest averages paid by U.S. travelers per night for 5-star hotels in 2016
City
Country
2016
Istanbul
Turkey
$124
Bangkok
Thailand
$142
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
$150
Bogota
Colombia
$163
Berlin
Germany
$169
Panama City
Panama
$175
Beijing
China
$180
Prague
Czech Republic
$184
Melbourne
Australia
$184
Frankfurt
Germany
$191
Value and choice in 4-stars
  • There were 33 destinations with 4-star averages of less than $150 a night, with Istanbul,
  •  Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City all forming the lowest three once again.
  • Five U.S. cities including Albuquerque, Oklahoma City and Jacksonville were also part of this group.
Luxury for less
Prices fell in multiple U.S. cities for domestic travelers staying in 4-star and 5-star accommodation in 2016
 for a variety of economic and industry marketing reasons.
  • Greater competition amongst the top-end hotels in Austin helped its 5-star rate to fall
  •  substantially.
  • Istanbul was hit by political and security instability during the year, which deterred many visitors,
  •  and average prices fell accordingly in both categories.
  • There was a similar situation with Paris as visitor numbers to the French capital dropped
  •  significantly.
  • Milan was host to the World Expo in 2015, welcoming more than 20 million visitors, and
  •  much of the drop in its 4-star average can be explained by prices returning to more customary
  •  levels in 2016.
  • Most hotels in Dubai are in the 4- and 5-star categories but an increase in supply helped to
  •  lower rates paid by U.S. customers.
  • Travelers paid less in general to stay in London in 2016, helped by lower occupancy rates
  •  and the fall in value of the Pound Sterling, following the Brexit vote in June.
Destinations with the largest price decreases in 2016 (compared to 2015) for U.S. travelers staying at
 4 and 5-star hotels
City
Country
Star rating
2016
2015
% Change
Austin, TX
U.S.A.
5
$278
$533
-48%
Istanbul
Turkey
4
$70
$105
-34%
Istanbul
Turkey
5
$124
$177
-30%
Milan
Italy
5
$361
$432
-16%
Paris
France
5
$368
$440
-16%
Milan
Italy
4
$180
$212
-15%
Dubai
United Arab Emirates
4
$141
$162
-13%
Baltimore, MD
U.S.A.
5
$337
$387
-13%
Pittsburgh, PA
U.S.A.
5
$245
$278
-12%
London
United Kingdom
5
$367
$416
-12%