BIG APPLE BOOM
Damn the recession, full speed ahead.
That seems to be the motto in Manhattan these days, not to mention Brooklyn and the other boroughs. For one, you've got the new Yankee Stadium giving tours to folks in the hopes they'll drop hundreds of dollars for a single seat to a baseball game. The Mets also have a new playground. And the hotel industry shows no signs of slowing down.
Many of the new spots were, of course, designed and had their construction started before everyone in the world knew about AIG bonuses and Bernard Madoff. Still, it's interesting to note the relentless barrage of new hotels being built in the city that never sleeps (in which case, when you think about it, why do they need hotels in the first place?).
Among the places due to open in the not-too-distant future are a slew of family-friendly places: The Holiday Inn Express at Times Square, a Hampton Inn-Times Square North and a Doubletree on West 29th Street. Hyatt will open one of its high-end Andaz, all-suite affairs at 75 Wall Street, and a sixth W hotel also is slated to open, this one near the former World Trade Center.
PROPOSE AT JULIET'S PLACE
How romantic is this? Associated Press reports The House of Juliet in Verona, Italy, will soon be used as a venue for weddings.
It's said to be the spot where Romeo stood under the balcony and called out to his lover in the famous Shakespeare play, although who really knows?
"Verona is known worldwide as the city of love," said Daniele Polato, the city official who made the proposal. "We have inherited this splendid reputation and we want to promote it."
AP reports it'll cost Verona residents about $925 for the wedding spot, but non-EU citizens not living in town will have to pay more like $1,500 as there's more paperwork involved.
It's a lot, but who's got the nerve to tell his or her sweetheart that they're not worth it? Even more of a burning question in my mind - why did it take Verona tourism people to think this up?
HAWAII SALES CONTINUE
Airfare to Hawaii from cities in the continental United States has plummeted more than 30 percent in some markets, according to FareCompare.com, an airfare research Web site. Pleasant Holidays, one of the nation's largest privately owned travel companies, is offering some Americans vacation packages that include flight and three nights hotel stay in Oahu starting at $299 U.S.
A story at cnn.com says "online travel giants Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz are all offering sales on Hawaii flights, hotels and activities, and some luxury hotels have rooms for less than $150 (U.S.) a night."
"You won't see prices to Hawaii like this again in your lifetime," FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney said. "It might be worth it to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip."
A couple Canadian companies have been offering one-week stays in Honolulu at around $1,000 Canadian, including flight and hotels. Air fares alone often hover above that rate, which makes it a steal.
I'm biased, but I still think Hawaii's the greatest place in the world; romance and music and beaches and sunsets and mountains and water and whales and golf and great food and more. With American health care and no visible poverty.
We've still got a couple Hawaii music videos on our web site, so check out thestar.com/travel.