New Manchester Flights Put Golfing Spotlight on Donnafugata

April 17, 2014 on 12:11 pm | In Airlines, Golf Resorts, Italy, London, United Kingdom | Comments Off



Golfers across the north-west region have the perfect reason to head to Sicily to discover the new rising star of Italian golf from this spring onwards following the launch of a new flight route from Manchester to the largest island in the Mediterranean.

Easyjet launched its new twice-weekly service from Manchester to Catania airport at the start of this month, making the five-star Donnafugata Gof Resort & Spa more accessible than ever.

Available all-year-round, the new flights are the third service that the low-cost airline will now operate into Catania – which is situated 90 minutes away from Donnafugata – with other flights already departing from Gatwick and Luton.

And with Donnafugata already served by a number of other UK services including Ryanair’s twice-weekly route from Stansted into Comiso airport, a 20-minute drive away from the deluxe resort, there has never been a better time to visit.

Latest figures revealed by the award-winning venue show that the number of golfers visiting from the UK almost quadrupled in 2013 compared to the previous year, with bookings expected to increase by at least another 50 per cent in 2014.

Donnafugata also recently opened its new Darren Clarke Centre of Excellence, the first facility of its kind in continental Europe, offering expert teaching under the guidance of the resort’s head professional Davide Terrinoni through individual and group lessons, and specially created two, three and seven-night tuition packages.

Guy Roberts, director of golf at Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, said: “The UK has been one of our biggest growth markets over the last 18 months and the launch of new flights like the one from Manchester will help to increase the popularity of the resort.

“With two fantastic, and very different, championship golf courses and an array of other five-star facilities, Donnafugata has so much to offer and we’re very excited about the prospect of welcoming a new audience of golfers over the coming months.”

Opened in 2010 and the venue for the 2011 Sicilian Open less than a year later, Donnafugata’s notable recent highlights include becoming the resort was the first course in Italy to be invited to join IMG Prestige, an exclusive collection of some of the world’s most celebrated golfing venues.

Other accolades have included both its courses – the Links and the Parkland – being named in Golf World’s biennial list of the ‘Top 200 Courses in Continental Europe’ and the new ‘Top 30 Courses in Italy’ rankings released by popular website www.top100courses.co.uk.

Set in the beautiful area of Donnafugata, a natural reserve and famous tourist destination known for the imposing castle which bears the same name, the resort also boasts a number of fantastic historical cities nearby. These include Val di Noto, the heart of Sicilian baroque: Ragusa Ibla, Modica, Noto and Scicli. All of them are deemed fitting of UNESCO World Heritage status.

Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa has 202 rooms, an award-winning spa and health club, swimming pools and three restaurants offering a broad selection of gastronomic delights, well accompanied by perfect Sicilian wines to enhance flavour.

For more information on Donnafugata Golf Resort & Spa, its range of golf packages for 2014 or to book a stay, call 00 39 0932 914 200 or visit www.donnafugatagolfresort.com


Enjoy £300 Savings On Five-Star Golf Breaks At Sheraton Salobre

April 17, 2014 on 8:56 am | In Beachbooker, Golf Resorts, London, Scotland, United Kingdom, Wales | Comments Off



The five-star Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort & Spa has enjoyed a scintillating start to 2014 and golf groups can enjoy discounts of up to 45 per cent at Gran Canaria’s premier golfing destination this spring – with a five-night half-board stay including unlimited golf available from just £385 per person.

The Canary Islands’ only 36-hole golf complex is offering mouth-watering value on golf packages over April and May – with savings of more than £300 of offer to golf parties of four or more people.

Boasting average temperatures of around 24 degrees all-year-round, Gran Canaria is the ideal place for a golfing break and Sheraton Salobre’s first-class facilities include two 18-hole championship courses – the South and North – an extensive practice area and new club-fitting and performance centre.

Available to book until May 31, guests can take advantage of dinner, bed and breakfast and unlimited golf each day from only £77 per person per night.

As well as including golf and half-board accommodation in the resort’s luxury hotel, the eye-catching breaks also include airport transfers for groups of four or more, while one in eight guests stay and play for free.

Winner of IAGTO’s 2013 European Destination of the Year award, Gran Canaria is the perfect golf destination and Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort & Spa has enjoyed its best-ever start to a year, with 15 per cent more golfers using the venue on the corresponding 12 months ago.

Launched in 2000 and created by Roland Favre, Salobre’s South Course (also known as the Old Course) has been cleverly designed to offer visitors magnificent views of the sea and mountains and is a must for golfers of all levels with its varied and fun layout.

In contrast, the resort’s North Course (also known as the New Course) – designed by architect Ron Kirby – takes its inspiration from the desert courses in America and provides a new challenge as it winds its way through and around the unique volcanic rock environment.

Opened in 2006, Sheraton Salobre offers plenty of choice for golfers and non-golfers alike – with 313 rooms, four restaurants, two stylish bars, a state-of-the-art luxury Aloe Spa, fully equipped gym and seven outdoor pools – offering a calming and relaxing environment for all.

Additionally, there are a variety of sports that can be practiced throughout the resort, ranging from cycling, footing and Nordic walking to less strenuous activities including yoga and pilates. The resort also provides a free shuttle bus to take guests to the hotel’s private beach point near the dunes of Maspalomas Beach.

Ideally situated in the south of the island, Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort & Spa is just 10 minutes from Maspalomas and 30-minutes from Gran Canaria International Airport (Las Palmas) and is easily accessed from airports across the UK and Ireland.

- For more information on Sheraton Salobre Golf Resort & Spa, and to book visit: www.sheratonsalobre.com


Introducing Great Golf Adventures

April 16, 2014 on 11:40 am | In Adventure Travel, Golf Resorts | Comments Off



Specialist tour operator The Groups Company has joined forces with Great Golf Magazine to launch ‘Great Golf Adventures’ the first three of which are to India.

Comments Derek Moore, Director of The Groups Company who has been working in adventure travel for over 30 years: “These are not golfing holidays in the traditional sense, where a bunch of guys or girls head for a very cheap long weekend in Spain or Portugal to do nothing but play golf, often on courses overrun with noisy Brits.

“This is a brand new concept in adventure holidays where you visit a country to discover the people, the culture and the food, with a chance to enjoy a round of golf or two, often in extremely unusual places along the way; how many people can say they have played golf against the backdrop of the Taj Mahal?

“Great Golf Magazine is no ordinary golf publication which are normally packed with features about the latest kit available; instead, it contains long, well-written features, about golf in far flung destinations, the difference being now we are providing readers with the opportunity to visit the country and play golf there for themselves.”

The collaboration between The Groups Company and Great Golf Magazine was an obvious one according to Moore: “It was a perfect fit, Mike Stock who owns the magazine knows golf around the world inside out, and The Groups Company has an extensive network of contacts around the globe to enable us to create problem free, detailed itineraries, plus a tour guide in situ to make sure everything runs smoothly.”

The tours can be booked as part of a group or individually with plenty of opportunity to do something different, for example, you can have your own personal car and driver/escort to ferry you around as part of a package.

The spring issue of Great Golf Adventures, out this week, will unveil the soft launch of Great Golf Adventures, with many more being added in the next issue to countries as diverse as Belgium, Greenland, Czech Republic, Korea, China and Peru.

Highlights of the six day Golf and Houseboats in Kashmir trip include four rounds of golf at courses that including Gulmarg, which has the highest greens in the world, and Kashmir – the second oldest course outside the UK – a guided tour of Srinagar and a boat trip on Dal Lake. Four nights will be spent on a traditional Kashmiri houseboat and one night in a Delhi hotel.

The holiday costs from £895 pp (two sharing) including domestic flights, all land transportation, five nights’ B&B, activities as per itinerary and the services of a dedicated tour leader.

Call 01992 579 697 (www.greatgolfmagazine.co.uk/golfing-holidays).


Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival – California

April 16, 2014 on 11:37 am | In California, Dine Drink, Festivals, Golf Resorts, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Webbandstand | Comments Off



Lovers of golf and food can combine the two perfectly at the annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, taking place from 10 – 14 April. The festival, which last year attracted more than 7,000 visitors and over 350 chefs and wineries, is one of the West Coast’s signature culinary and lifestyle events. Visitors can enjoy unrivalled access to some of the USA’s top chefs, which in the past has included Thomas Keller, Roi Choi and Wolfgang Puck, with live cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and the prestigious Celebrity Chef & Winemaker Golf Tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. This world-famous resort hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including the Annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (17 August), one of the USA’s finest gatherings of rare and antique cars from across the world.

www.pbfw.com / www.DiscoverAmerica.com


U.S. Open & U.S. Women’s Open – North Carolina

April 16, 2014 on 9:06 am | In Beachbooker, Golf Resorts, The South | Comments Off



This year, Pinehurst in North Carolina has the honour of hosting both the U.S. Open (12 – 15 June) and the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championships (19 – 22 June). This marks the first time in history that both tournaments will be played in the same year, on the same course. Pinehurst is one of the USA’s premier golf destinations, with a mild year-round climate and plenty to see and do off the course including spa treatments, kayaking, biking and shopping in the quaint stores of Pinehurst Village. North Carolina has over 400 golf courses, which invite visitors to tee off amongst stunning mountains, rolling hills and beautiful beaches across the state.

www.pinehurst.com / visitnc.com / www.DiscoverAmerica.com


Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort Celebrates Easter

April 16, 2014 on 9:05 am | In France, Golf Resorts | Comments Off



One of the Leading Hotels of the World, the 750-acre Terre Blanche Spa Golf Resort in Provence launches its Easter Family Package. From 4 – 29 April, the resort will offer guests the chance to celebrate the occasion with festive meals and special spa and golf offers for the whole family.

Renowned for its gastronomic variety, Terre Blanche’s new Executive Chef Yannick Franques has created an Easter Menu especially for the occasion. On 20 April, guests are invited to dine at Le Gaudina, where Franques and his Pastry Chef will create a Mediterranean buffet style meal surrounded by 20kg of chocolate eggs decorating the restaurant. A gourmet Easter Dinner Menu will also be available at gastronomic restaurant, Le Faventia. This will include a spring-like twist on his signature dishes, following the theme of “The Hen and The Egg”. The menu will include one of the chef’s specialities of whipped egg whites with crispy brioche, aubergine caviar and a grilled rack of lamb with herb infused courgette cannelloni, accompanied by black garlic sauce.

This spring, Terre Blanche’s award winning Spa will offer a variety of offers following the recent partnership with renowned anti-aging brand, CARITA. During the Easter period, there will be 20% off selected treatments including the ‘Eveil Affinant’, the ‘Amincissant et Drainant’, and the ‘Cinetic Facial’.

With focus on the family this spring, Terre Blanche will be offering 3 and 5 day junior golfing programmes from 12 April – 4 May. These will include the use of the resort’s world-famous championship golf courses and classes in the Albatros Golf Performance Centre, providing results-driven golfing education that is recognised worldwide and used by some of the world’s top professionals and amateurs alike. Children will also be invited to enjoy a range of Easter activities throughout the day, from creating Easter baskets and cards to taking part in the Grand Easter Egg Hunt organised by the Kid’s Club.

The Terre Blanche Easter Family Package starts at 803 and includes:

- Two connecting premier suites with 50% reduction on the second guestroom

- Daily breakfast

- Guest from 2 to 12 years old staying at the hotel over the Easter weekend will receive free access to all organised activities and the Kid’s Club

TERRE BLANCHE LOCATION:

45 Minutes from Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport

35 Minutes from Cannes, La Croisette

90 Minutes from Marseille

90 Minutes from Aix-en-Provence

80 Minutes from St-Tropez


Tee Off in Atlantic Canada

April 15, 2014 on 12:32 pm | In Canada, Golf Resorts, Labrador, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec | Comments Off



Just under six hours’ flying time from the UK, fairway-friends will be delighted by the news that the Web.com Tour is coming to Nova Scotia’s Ashburn Golf Club for the first time. Nova Scotia will be the only Canadian province in 2014 to host two PGA TOUR events; theWeb.com Tour, owned and operated by the PGA TOUR, and the PGA TOUR Canada Cape Breton Celtic Classic from 1 – 7 September.

TheWeb.com Tour is the developmental part of the tour allowing golfers to qualify and earn their PGA TOUR Card. The event will form part of the wider GOLFest in Nova Scotia which starts on 29 June 2014, finishes 6 July 2014 and includes the Nova Scotia Open, the Junior Canada Cup and the RBC Canada Cup.

The RBC Canada Cup will be an exhibition head-to-head battle between Team Canada vs. Team World featuring PGA TOURS stars, Mike Weir, Graham DeLaet, David Hearn, Matt Kucher, Gary Woodland, and Trevor Immelman.

Nova Scotia boasts over 70 golf courses and many of them are public golf courses which travellers can play including the number two rated* Cape Breton Highland Links. In fact, the whole area of Cape Breton is fast becoming one of the hottest golf desinations in Canada with one of the newest courses in Nova Scotia; Cabot Links opening just 21 months ago.

In only its first year of operation, Cabot Links is only one of two Canadian golf courses to be ranked among the Top 100 golf courses in the world according to Golf Magazine. Its sister course, Cabot Cliffs, set high on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, with scenic views of natural dunes and wetlands is expected to open in 2015.

Those looking to make the most of golfing and the destination should drive the Cabot Trail which connects The Highland Links course to Cabot Links. The Cabot Trail makes a loop around Cape Breton Island, cutting across the top of the island and closely following the western and eastern coastlines.

Tip: Driving counter-clockwise will give you a better view of some of the more spectacular ocean vistas along the way but travellers will need a brave passenger for some of the coastal roads.

For more information on GOLFest Nova Scotia visit www.golfestnovascotia.com


Florida’s Hottest Spots & Nightlife

April 15, 2014 on 9:04 am | In Beachbooker, Dine Drink, Festivals, Florida, Golf Resorts, Hotels, Miami, Orlando, The Keys, Webbandstand | Comments Off



Northwest Florida:

Panama City Beach

Nightlife in northwest Florida may be best known for the spring break haven Panama City Beach, home to bars and clubs right on the Gulf. However, this destination is a hot spot year-round.

Have a night out at Club La Vela in Panama City Beach, the largest nightclub in the United States. Some of the highlights include the club’s famous lineup of popular concerts with some of the hottest bands in the land. Club La Vela has hosted concerts for MTV and Playboy featuring such acts as Black Eyed Peas, Lil’ Wayne, Drake, The Jersey Shore cast and many more.
Pineapple Willy’s Pier Bar – Check out this bar if you’re looking for live music and want to dance the night away. There are always people of all ages sipping “Fat Tuesday” slushy alcohol mixers and enjoying the beach scene.
Spinnaker Beach Club – At night, this place turns into one of the most energetic dance clubs around with multiple dance floors, an amazing bar and popular bands all season long.

Northeast Florida:

Jacksonville

Located in Northeast Florida, Jacksonville’s thriving nightlife abounds with high-energy dance clubs, quaint wine bars and chic lounges.

“The Core” is home to a variety of nightlife venues in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville, centrally located in its main arteries from Bay, Forsyth and Adams Streets to The Jacksonville Landing.
For adults 21 and over, kick back and laugh at The Comedy Zone.
If you’re looking for places to hit for Happy Hour & cocktails, check out Brix Taphouse, The Ritz Bar & Cocktail Lounge and Lemon Bar on the Ocean (all under the same ownership and all known to be high-quality hot spots in Jacksonville).

Freebird Live is a premier live music concert venue that welcomes audiences of all ages. This destination showcases a spectrum of national and regional touring artists, as well as select inspiring local artists.
Kickbacks Gastropub is renowned for their extensive beer selection and a unique assortment of delicacies ranging from chicken cordon bleu to fried green beans.

Central Florida:

Tampa

On Florida’s Gulf coast, Tampa has so many entertaining options, whether you’re looking for a night on the town or family fun.

Tampa’s historic Latin district, Ybor City, is a tourist favorite. Located in the heart of the nightlife action, this destination is a dining, shopping and entertainment center that includes a comedy club and a movie theater with an adults-only section with a full bar. On Seventh Avenue, stroll by club after club and chose your dance spot. Many have outdoor patios, rooftop bars and balconies.

Jump on an electric streetcar to Channelside Bay Plaza, yet another entertainment complex with restaurants, theaters and a handful of bars and clubs, including Splitsville, an upscale bowling alley with its own lounge and restaurant.

Orlando

In Orlando the fun never ends, even after the sun goes down. Renowned for its theme parks, this destination has plenty of exciting nightlife outlets to explore.

In downtown Orlando, Church Street and vicinity has long been nightlife central, offering revelers countless bars, nightclubs, restaurants and major street parties. A historic space at 33 West Church Street houses three separate bars. Enjoy a frozen drink at Chillers (first floor), a brew at Big Belly Brewery (second floor) and an amazing view of Orlando’s skyline at the open-air Latitudes (rooftop).

Around the corner on Orange Avenue is Wall Street Plaza, which charges one admission fee for eight distinct bars and there are also outdoor block parties with live music.

Orlando’s theme parks are not just for kids. Both Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort have their own nightlife-centered entertainment complexes that get going after dark. Check out Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, an entertainment complex with a dozen places to party, including bars, clubs and restaurants. Disney’s Boardwalk is a quarter-mile promenade of exquisite dining, unique shops and exciting nightlife. And Downtown Disney is a fun-filled district that includes Downtown Disney West Side, Downtown Disney Marketplace and Pleasure Island.

South Florida:

West Palm Beach

There is always a good place in West Palm Beach to go to at night, spend time with friends, dance, eat, shop, drink and just generally have a terrific time.

For nightlife in downtown West Palm Beach, Clematis Street is the place to be. Beginning at Flagler Drive on the Intracoastal Waterway and extending five blocks west, there are about a dozen great bars and clubs. Equally fine are the restaurants that transform into clubs by night.

You can walk or take a free trolley a few blocks south of Clematis Street to CityPlace, home to restaurants, theaters and nightspots, including a wine bar, microbrewery and blues club.

Voted America’s Most Fun Small Town by Rand McNally, Delray Beach’s culinary landscape boasts more than 100 restaurants offering everything from ocean views to rooftop hot spots. Shoppers stroll the quaint shops and trendy boutiques of Downtown Delray Beach – check out the popular destinations Atlantic Avenue and Pineapple Grove.

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale’s nightlife is alive with wine bars, nightclubs, sports bars, cultural outlets, shopping spots and comedy clubs.

In Fort Lauderdale, nightlife is always in fashion, especially in the chic Las Olas Boulevard area, home to upscale restaurants and lounges. You’ll have a great time when you spend the evening bar-hopping on Las Olas Boulevard.

The Gallery at Beach Place is the exclusive all-in-one entertainment destination on Fort Lauderdale beach offering a unique blend of shopping, dining, live musical performances and events.
Broadway shows, top headliners, and other theatrical thrills light up The Broward Center for Performing Arts.

Miami

In Miami’s South Beach, you can sip a key lime martini under the stars while rubbing elbows with celebrities.

Begin the night at a glittering outdoor café on Lincoln Road or sidle up to one of the sophisticated hotel bars lining Collins Avenue. For a true nighttime South Beach experience, though, make sure to cross the velvet rope and check out a trendy dance club.

Cameo is a legendary South Beach nightclub that has been completely redesigned for the New Millennium. It is considered a cut above the rest, with top-notch DJs from all over the world and outstanding live rock concerts.

The River Seafood & Oyster Bar is the most renowned seafood restaurant in Miami. A fun bar atmosphere, a great selection of wines, champagnes and beer chilled to perfection are the main ingredients to hit for a Happy Hour and dinner.

Key West

Party in Key West (Florida’s southernmost point), where you can gulp down a frosty margarita at one of many open-air bars – this destination offers a relaxing, live-and-let-live, Jimmy Buffett-approved atmosphere.

At sunset, head to Mallory Square, where crowds gather nightly to watch the sun go down and be entertained by street performers and musicians.
Then do the “Duval Crawl,” stopping at all the pubs and clubs on the famous – or infamous – Duval Street. Many watering holes feature live bands.


Stay and Play: Scottish Hotels Offer Up Golf Packages

April 14, 2014 on 9:02 am | In Golf Resorts, London, Scotland, United Kingdom | Comments Off



isitScotland, the national tourism office for the country, has dubbed 2014 the year of “Homecoming Scotland,” and what better way to celebrate than by visiting the home of one of the world’s most popular sports, golf. Three highly celebrated golf venues, all proud members of the Connoisseurs Scotland family of properties, are offering packages that include play on some of the sport’s most legendary fairways. In September, the golf world’s attention will turn to The Gleneagles Hotel as it hosts the Ryder Cup, but throughout this year the property is offering players the unique opportunity to recreate an authentic early 20th-century golf game by playing with hickory clubs. Turnberry Resort, which has hosted four Open Championships, is offering Tour Master Classes featuring European and Senior Tour Champions as coaches. At the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa in St. Andrews, the official birthplace of golf, players are getting a rare guaranteed chance to play a round on the famed Old Course.

In addition to hosting the Ryder Cup, Gleneagles in Perthshire is celebrating its 90th anniversary by allowing guests the chance to experience golf the way it would have been played when the property opened in 1924. From now until the end of July, guests can take to the fairways with hickory clubs to recreate the authentic early 20th-century golfing experience on Gleneagles’ PGA National Academy Course. Hickory golf is available for groups of up to 12 from about £50 per person ($80)*, including club hire and green fee. This is a golf day package, but accommodations are available at the Gleneagles Hotel. To book, contact Gleneagles Resort Sales at 1-866-881-9525.

Located on the west coast of Scotland, Turnberry Resort is a must-visit destination for serious golfers. As the exclusive partner of Tour Master Class, Turnberry is hosting a series of special events that offers coaching from European Tour and Senior Tour Champions. On May 14-16, golfers can play alongside Tony Johnstone, a popular Senior Tour player; on July 13-15, players will hit the links with Mark James, former Ryder Cup champion and Senior Tour player. The package, which starts at £1,330 per person ($2,194)*, double, and £1,490 per person ($2,457)*, single, includes a welcome reception; a round of golf on the Championship Ailsa course with a Tour professional and a round on the Kintyre course; two days of lunch followed by tuition in the Turnberry Performance Academy; and dinner in the hotel’s signature restaurant, 1906. To book, contact or call +44 1655 331 000.

Playing a round on St. Andrews’ Old Course is a dream for many golfers, but only a few actually get the chance to do it. Until now, that is. With the Old Course Hotel’s “Suite Golf” package, players get a three-night stay in a luxury suite and a round on the Old Course, plus an additional round on either the New or Jubilee course, one on Kingsbarns, and one on The Duke’s (with buggy hire). The package, which starts at £2,400 per person ($3,995)*, double, also includes a full Scottish breakfast each morning, dinner at the Road Hole Restaurant one night and in the Sands Grill on a second night, and a 50-minute luxury spa treatment at the world-class Kohler Waters Spa. Additional nights are available from £525 ($875)* per room per night.  For reservations, call +44 (0)1334 474 371.


Travelers’ Top 10 Amenities

April 11, 2014 on 7:19 pm | In Golf Resorts, Hotels | Comments Off



Hotels.com revealed travelers’ top 10 hotel amenities on Tuesday.

The study asked customers to rank 33 different amenities, from front desk service to swimming pools to restaurants.

In the same study last year, free Wi-Fi was crowned as the No. 1 amenity. But free Wi-Fi didn’t maintain the top spot this year. In fact, the No. 1 amenity this year may surprise you.

Child-friendly amenities, pet services and hair salons were ranked as the least important amenities in 2014. Interestingly enough, conference centers and meeting rooms were also ranked among the least important amenities, despite 35 percent of respondents being business travelers.

Here are travelers’ top 10 hotel amenities, courtesy of Hotels.com, complete with TravelPulse’s (more than a little tongue-in-cheek) take on each item or service.

10. Coffee/Tea in Lobby

While having coffee and tea in the lobby may not seem like that big of a deal (and it’s not like hotels are spending inordinate amounts of money on those Styrofoam cups), I can see why it would make the Top 10 list, given its value to hard-working professionals everywhere.

Coffee and tea are relatively inexpensive for both hotels and guests, unless you get the Extra Grande Vanilla Whip Cream Chocolatte or something (I’m guessing that’s an item at Starbucks). On top of that, the jolt coffee in particular can give you when you feel like one of those zombies in those horrible old movies cannot be overstated (the zombies in “Night of the Living Dead” were not scary at all, but never cross a professional when he hasn’t had his morning coffee yet).

9. Air Conditioning

As one of my colleagues pondered, “Is air conditioning an amenity in the U.S.?”

Well, technically it is, but realistically it shouldn’t even be listed on hotel websites anymore.

I mean, doesn’t pretty much every decent hotel have air conditioning these days? It’s not like it’s the 1920s.

In fact, if you don’t have air conditioning in your hotel, a “WARNING” disclaimer should be required on your website’s homepage.

8. Bar

Ah yes, the hotel bar: a place for the most professional and engaging of conversations.

OK, maybe it’s a dangerous area for working professionals, but it also doesn’t surprise me that the bar takes the No. 8 spot.

Plus, if proceeded into with caution, the bar can be a good place to meet people in a more relaxed setting. Heck, you might even learn something.

It’s also a good place for people to get straight to the point. It may start out as the usual small talk, but by the end of the night you have heard this stranger’s life story, from his attempts to recreate “The Hangover” with his buddies in Las Vegas to the speech she gave at her sister’s wedding that everybody vowed to never talk about again.

Plus, if your boss hears anything about your wild night, you can tell him, “Haven’t you heard about the new trend? Travelers are mixing business with leisure. Everybody’s doing it.”

7. Swimming Pool

I actually expected the swimming pool to be higher up the list, but I suppose a) not everybody is fond of the water (bad life experiences, lost a swimming competition as a child, etc.) b) it depends on the swimming pool and c) some cities aren’t exactly sun-friendly (you don’t really care to go for a swim outside when you are experiencing a blizzard).

Of course, when you live in places like California, the weather is typically amazing, so I would think Californians value swimming pools more.

Somewhere in Los Angeles: “Hey guys, they are calling this a historic drought.”

“Better than rain.”

The end.

6. Smoke-Free Hotel

As Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a’changin.’”

He now says that every time he walks into a hotel and realizes he can’t smoke there.

It’s no surprise that smoke-free hotels are popular these days. You aren’t automatically considered cool if you smoke a cigarette anymore, and the health and wellness trend demonstrates that people are actually trying to, you know, take care of their bodies.

Also, guys realize women don’t like kissing an ash tray. That can turn things around pretty darn quick.

5. 24-Hour Front Desk Service

It’s good to know that 24-hour front desk service isn’t being ignored.

As someone who once worked at a hotel, I know that front desk agents are some of the most hard-working folks on the planet. They deal with all kinds of requests, crazy guests and that guy who does everything that guy would do.

They could seriously make a reality TV show out of a typical 24-hour front desk service. Producers wouldn’t even have to create tons of drama—it would all be there naturally.

4. Parking

As our world grows and more cars fill the city streets, something as simple as a parking area exclusively for guests can do wonders.

You generally don’t roll into a nice parking spot in a big city these days; you have to work for it. You find a parking spot in some of these cities and you literally high-five your friends and do a little dance in your car. It’s a triumphant moment that you will never forget for the rest of your life.

I also wonder if bumper cars were invented by some dude to mimic the parking experience.

3. Free Wi-Fi/Internet

It’s no surprise that free Wi-Fi made the top three of the list, but it is surprising that it dropped from No. 1.

Practically everybody needs convenient and cheap Internet access on the go these days. Some people need hours a day just to update their Facebook account with important pieces of information like, “Just woke up.”

It’s gotten to the point where paying for Internet at hotels just feels wrong. I once stayed at a hotel that didn’t have free Wi-Fi and had nightmares about it for weeks. It’s no joke.

2. Restaurant

People like food. It’s a proven scientific fact.

Food allegedly is supposed to keep you alive, too, so there’s that.

Guests are always looking for fine dining options at hotels, and many hotels around the world have fantastic on-site restaurants led by Michelin-starred chefs. Cuisine ranges from traditional dishes to innovative offerings.

So, it doesn’t exactly surprise me that the restaurant is the No. 2 amenity on the list. The fact that most hotel rooms don’t have a stove and a personal chef helps, too.

1. Complimentary Breakfast

And the No. 1 amenity, according to those surveyed by Hotels.com?

Complimentary breakfast. Naturally.

Wow, what happened to the way we generally view complimentary breakfast? Sure, breakfast is supposed to get your day off right, but when I think of complimentary breakfast, I think of those mini-sized boxes of Fruit Loops or a plain bagel. Not exactly an inspiring way to start the day.

“Everything OK, Fred? Look like you’re down.”

“Yeah, I just had the complimentary breakfast today. I’ll get through it.”


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