What You Need to Know About the Notting Hill Carnival

This event welcomes the vibes of calypso music, food stalls offering Caribbean flavors and delights and so much more. It is important to note at this point that the roads used by the parade are closed off, so if you are thinking of attending, it’s worthwhile making use of the local bus service to get to the carnival and back home or to your hotel.

This carnival has been held in Notting Hill since 1966 and has more than fifty thousand participants taking part in the parade and event with thirty sound systems which are strategically placed throughout the streets and more than one million people attend each and every year.

There are some very important things you are going to want to remember if you are thinking of attending the Notting Hill Carnival this year with the first being that you will want to use the bus service and to your own vehicle or the tube. While the tube may appear to be the most convenience, the tube service is suspended during the event, but there are extra buses which are put on service to manage the spectators and ensure you get to and from the event safely. It’s worthwhile speaking to your concierge service to identify what bus service to use, along with the time for that day.

The next thing is as a woman, don’t fall into the trap of wearing high heels, ensure you wear flat shoes, sandals if it’s a nice day. There isn’t much seating space and if you want to move along with the parade and experience all the carnival has to offer, then you will be thankful for wearing sensible shoes rather than high heels which can make the day uncomfortable.

In addition to this, the Notting Hill Carnival does take place in the summer months and the sun in London can get exceptionally hot, especially if you are not used to it. Be sure to pack a bag for you and the family which includes sun cream, a sun hat and sun glasses. It’s advisable to throw in a few bottles of water to reduce the risk of dehydration while attending this fun event.

Remember this is a day of family fun, so take the children along. If you have younger children, ensure that they have comfortable shoes. That they have your telephone number in case they get lost and for younger ones, take the push chair. You may think the push chair is going to get in the way, but when you spend a day on your feet enjoying the festivities, carrying your youngest child is not something you are going to want to be doing you will be thankful you packed the push chair to take along with you.

When you choose where to stand to watch the parade, take careful note of where the speakers are located and try and move a little bit away. Remember these speakers are catering to thousands of people and they can be exceptionally loud. Unless you love loud music, you may find moving away slightly will make your experience a little more enjoyable.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Boutique Hotels

The lodging industry is one of the oldest businesses to exist in this world. It has been around ever since people started traveling from one place to the other for trade and other purposes. What began as the need of the hour (rest and shelter during long journeys) soon turned into an industry that offered comfort, convenience, even luxury, to their boarders. For example, The Greeks built thermal baths that allowed their guests to rest and recuperate. Romans constructed palatial mansions for travelers, while Caravanserais along the famous Silk Road from Turkey to China offered shelter not just for men but also their beasts.

In the 21st century, hotels have evolved into a flourishing business that has become an inseparable part of the travel industry. The styles range from flamboyant properties to bare-bone youth hostels, and all-inclusive honeymoon resorts to quaint country inns.

However, as competition grew and hotels started offering standard services across the chain, there was need for something innovative in the market. People, tired of impersonal services, started moving towards smaller hotels that offered personalized attention and unique experiences.

And thus was born the darling of the hospitality industry – boutique hotels. Today, they are the most sought after stay option for leisure travelers and the ultimate name in exclusivity. More and more people are choosing to stay in boutique hotels, because they’re almost always guaranteed to have a good time and get great value for their money

Given the popularity they enjoy, it’s worthwhile taking a peek into the fascinating history of boutique hotels and trace their evolution over time.

History of Boutique Hotels

The earliest boutique hotels appeared in the early 1980s, the first two of them being The Blakes Hotel in South Kensington, London, and the Bedford in Union Square, San Francisco. The term ’boutique hotel’, though, appeared much later in 1984, coined by Steve Rubell. He compared his own establishment, Morgans Hotel, to a small boutique, obviously wishing to highlight its exclusivity and set it apart from other hotels that were cropping up everywhere, much like the monolithic department stores.

This is not to say that boutique hotels are a modern invention. There are plenty of documented instances of similar lodging experiences dating back to the 13th century when staging posts were set up for travelers in Mongolia and China.

Here are a few more examples of one-of-a-kind boutique hotels that were popular back in the days:

  • In 1705, César Ritz opened a boutique hotel at Place Vendôme, which earned him high praise from King Edward VII who called him “king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings”.
  • In 1822, Venitian artist Giuseppe Rubino transformed an old palace into a gorgeous hotel and called it “il Rubino”.
  • In 1880, the Sagamore Hotel on Lake George (in the state of New York) became the first to provide electricity in each of its guest rooms, creating no small stir among visitors in those times.
  • In 1900, Edouard Niiermans, known as the ‘architect of palaces’ transformed Emperor Napoléon III’s summer residence – Villa “Eugenie – into a beautiful and niche hotel.
  • In 1919, Barcelona inaugurated a stylish hotel that was equipped with hot and cold water in its bathrooms.

As you can see, there have been numerous occasions throughout the history of the lodging industry when hoteliers applied creativity and offered top-notch services to stay ahead of the competition and offer something extraordinary to their visitors.

Boutique Hotel of the 21st Century – Characteristics that Set It Apart

Today, the term ’boutique hotel’ is used to describe small establishments with around 150 rooms. They are privately owned, or part of a small group of hotels, and are best known for iconic, memorable and, at times, eccentric design themes. The concept of boutique hotels became a trend after hotelier Ian Schrager and French designer Philippe Starck used unique designs to build their hotels. And now, it has become a flourishing industry of its own, complete with unique traits and qualities.

Here’s looking at some of the more important ones.

Size Does Matter

Boutique hotels are generally considered small, but they’re not in the same category as Bed and Breakfast hotels or homestays that have less than 10 rooms. Boutique hotels can have up to 150 rooms, which does make it appear smaller when you compare it to most chain hotels.

However, it is this intimate scale that helps create a home-like ambiance with peace and privacy aplenty. These cozy properties often have a communal “living space” where the guests can sit and interact with each other.

Personality Speaks Volumes

Since boutique hotels are independently owned and not affiliated to any big chain, they are a brand in themselves. They have a distinctive vibe to them that sets them apart from the others. It is their unique personality and absence of cookie cutter solutions that guests find refreshing, thereby drawing more and more people towards boutique hotels.

Design by Desire

Boutique hotels are known for their intriguing interiors, which are very often created by leading designers and architects. Generally speaking, these niche hotels tend to maintain an upmarket look, combining historic elegance with chic details. The decor conveys a progressively forward style and the overall design could range from contemporary and quaint, to homely and artistic. Each guest room is decorated individually, complete with exclusive amenities and upscale linen.

It’s All in the Charm

You know how you walk into a big hotel, but nothing really spectacular or interesting jumps out at you? Boutique hotels will have none of that and the first thing that grabs your attention is their eccentric personality. They are funky, trendy, and offbeat. For instance, the Hotel Monaco in Washington D.C. will bring a goldfish in a bowl to your room, if you don’t have a pet of your own.

Lovely Location

While there aren’t any hard and fast rules about where a boutique hotel should be situated, it’s no coincidence that the best of them have a great location going for them. When designing boutique hotels, most hoteliers choose the hippest and most happening places to set them in. You may even find them in high-end neighborhoods, removed from the hustle and bustle, but still close to the attractions and highlights of the city. Yet another popular choice for boutique hotels would be in areas that are far removed from the city, in the lap of nature and surrounded by lush greenery.

Superb Service

One of the most distinguishing features of boutique hotels is the highly personalized and exclusive services they extend to their guests. The staff is courteous and friendly and is likely to know your name from day one. The hotel provides bespoke luxury amenities, like an extensive pillow menu, custom toiletries, and an array of relaxing spa services. A sumptuous spread of food and drinks menu is also a signature part of a boutique hotel. All these services combined create a top notch and singular experience for the guests.

Delectable Dining Options

Another feature that makes boutique hotels stand apart from other hotels is their significant focus on creating extraordinary restaurants and bars, which are modish and trendy. These hotels make a great reputation for themselves, which is independent of the conventional star ratings. Thanks to their appeal, they’re able to draw crowds not just locally, but also globally.

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why boutique hotels are fast gaining popularity among travelers, who are demanding more than comfort and convenience from their stay options. They want to be surprised, they want to experience something new, something completely different from what the run-of-the-mill hotels offer. In fact, these days, if you’re not staying at a boutique hotel, you’re considered unfashionable.

I don’t mean to imply in any way that hotels are boring or uninspiring. There are excellent hotels all over the world offering out-of-the-world service to their guests. However, boutique hotels break the traditional mold and refuse to be boxed in by regular standards. Offering visitors style, distinction, intimacy, and warmth, they leave guest with an experience they can cherish forever. And isn’t that what hotels set out to do in the first place?

5 Secrets to Finding Where to Stay in Fredericksburg

Deciding where to stay anywhere in the world can pose challenges, but when you’re faced with a particularly interesting city, it can be a little tougher to make the right call. This is the quandary faced when choosing a place to stay when visiting Fredericksburg, Texas.

The city of Fredericksburg was established in 1846, so it has a very long history into the early days of the Lone Star State. What’s more, this city, which boasts a population of about 11,000 people, has gained popularity over the years for all it has to offer to visitors looking for a unique, yet thoroughly Texan, experience.

It’s important to know that Fredericksburg, TX is seen as a gem in the central area of Texas known as the Hill Country. As time has passed, the city has remained small, but it certainly packs a punch in terms of what it offers to visitors, and herein lies the issue with deciding where to put your boots up, so to speak, when in town.

Here are five secrets to choosing the best place to stay when visiting Fredericksburg:

Plan Your Travel – This seems relatively easy as most people plan their travel, but specifically, understand on what roadways you’ll be traveling. If you happen to be on I-10, you’re a little south of Fredericksburg. While not too far, if you’re not keen on straying from I-10, you might want to look elsewhere. If you happen to be traveling Highway 290, however, it goes right through town, which presents more options. Also, if you plan on using Fredericksburg as your home base when taking day trips to either Austin or San Antonio, know that you’re fairly equidistant from both, which means you’ll likely save money by staying outside of the big cities.

Define Your Lodging Needs – Whether it’s one night, a weekend, or an entire week, staying in historic Fredericksburg provides many lodging options in the way of inns & suites, hotels, and B&Bs. Each has its own set of amenities and offerings for visitors, so it pays to know what you want out of your lodging.

Pets – More and more people are starting to travel with their pets rather than leave them with a neighbor or board them. It may be nice to travel with your furry buddy, but the options for finding a place to stay that is pet-friendly are greatly reduced. You may also be one of the many people who travel with a service animal. Though it’s easy to get online & check policies, a quick online search of Fredericksburg pet-friendly lodging gives you very inconsistent results. Calling ahead is your best bet.

Wineries – Fredericksburg is known across the country & abroad for its amazing wine. If you’re traveling to the area to check out any number of the fifteen wineries associated with Wine Road 290, you may want to consider how you plan on moving back & forth. Since you’ll be interacting with alcohol, these wineries take care to maintain safe environments. There are a few wineries that have attached lodging available, but you’ll have to call ahead of time to find out about availability (if applicable).

Know Your Map – Regular travelers know that when trying to secure a deal on a room, businesses offering a place to stay will advertise about their proximity to various landmarks & places of interest. Fredericksburg is no different. For example, a hotel may indicate that they are right off Main Street, which cuts right through the city. That sounds more appealing than staying off of U.S. Highway 290 until you realize that it’s the same road.

Choosing where to stay in Fredericksburg, TX requires a little bit of work on the weary traveler, but in the end, you’ll be greatly rewarded.

Weekend Getaways From Delhi Within 300 Km

A melting point of vibrant cultures, Delhi is an incredible city in itself and offers respite to its inhabitants in the form of abounding outings within the city. But unlike most of the cities, the folks in Delhi have a plethora of options when it comes to weekend getaways.

Also, since most of us are wary of spending our hard-earned money and deserving weekends on nonessential tourist-flooded destinations and long travel hours, weekend getaways from Delhi becomes all the more important.

Be it hill stations, adventure sites, religious shrines or commonplace tourist destinations, there are numerous getaways from Delhi at a stone’s throw.

Mentioned below is the ultimate list of weekend getaways near Delhi that would turn your monotonous weekend into a mini vacation and get in you in just the right mood to face the upcoming week.

1. Sariska, Rajasthan: Sariska rose to popularity due to Sariska Tiger Reserve. A successfully relocated home to Royal Bengal Tigers, the reserve is located in the Alwar district and is considered to be one of the best getaways from Delhi for its thriving wildlife.

Distance from Delhi: 215 km

Best time to visit: Throughout the year except May, June, July and August

Famous for: Rich flora and fauna including tigers, wild boar, antelopes and leopards

2. Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh: This quaint hamlet in Himachal Pradesh is one of the most charismatic hill stations in India. Narrow roads moving past undulated vistas take one back to the 19th century. The placid hill station is blessed with exotic surroundings and is a preferred weekend destination from Delhi.

Distance from Delhi: 285 km

Best time to visit: March to November

Famous for: Hill station, alluring landscapes, altars

3. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand: One of the holiest Indian cities, Rishikesh is not just the spiritual capital of India but its adventure capital too. Even the globally known band The Beatles couldn’t keep itself from visiting the sacred destination back in 1968.

Distance from Delhi: 230 km

Best time to visit: Throughout the year, peak summers can be a bit harsh though

Famous for: Adventure sports, yoga, spirituality

4. Mandawa, Rajasthan: Mandawa was founded in 18th century by rich merchant families and is known for its splendid mansions and havelis. It’s an aesthetically pleasing hamlet and attracts numerous tourists from nearby cities and is locally known as Rajasthan’s open art gallery.

Distance from Delhi: 260 km

Best time to visit: October to March

Famous for: Heritage, palaces, forts, camel rides and shopping

What You Need To Know Before Looking For A Business Hotel

Whether you are traveling for business or are looking for a place to host a professional conference, finding the right business hotel can be tricky. With a lot at stake, you want to be certain you contract with a professional, competent and reputable hotel. Fortunately, there are some tell-tale signs of what constitutes stellar accommodations. Take a look at the following guide to help you locate the right hotel for your needs:

Seek out experienced staff

Hosting a business meeting in a hotel setting requires the employment of a competent and professional staff. From the concierge to the manager, to the chef, it all matters, as these people can make or break your event. With quality employees, you can rest assured that they will fill in the gaps in which you may lack experience. From large matters like seating arrangements and reservation help to technological assistance with PowerPoint and surround sound, to the small matters of having refreshments, it is important that your event run smoothly. And an experienced staff at a business hotel can make that happen.

If you are simply searching for accommodations while on a business trip, then the staff still matters. With a top-notch concierge, you can relax while the employees manage your logistical needs. It is stressful enough staying away from home. An unprofessional and rude staff can only add to that stress.

Don’t ignore the amenities

Most people believe it is unnecessary to consider any luxury item at a business hotel when traveling. This is a tragic belief! Just because you are tending to work-related matters does not mean you should not enjoy your stay. In fact, when working, luxury should be a priority. A good swimming pool and/or workout gym can help relieve stress and help you maintain your mental and physical sanity, which is an ever-growing need for many professionals. If you are unsure as to what amenities the hotel offers, you should call the front desk or concierge. And do not be afraid to ask.

If you are hosting a business event, this may be even more important, with many employees traveling to your conference. Choosing respectable accommodations indicates an adherence to quality and luxury and reflects well on your company.

Track online promotions

Many hotels and inns offer some fantastic deals, especially for the frequent traveler. In order to take advantage of these deals, you should never neglect your online searches. Signing up to be added to an email list is a terrific way to keep in touch and monitor periodic deals. And again, when in doubt, call the hotel personally and inquire after any specials they may offer.

Try not to neglect the location

While you may not always have a say over which location you are to travel, a business hotel should still be in a beautiful setting, if possible. This is especially true for those companies hosting work conferences. Find a unique town by looking at the tourist attractions. With beautiful scenery, unique restaurants and fun shopping excursions, you can transition your conference to one many people choose to frequent for years to come.

Summer in London 2017

One of the top festivals that take place in the capital city during the summer period is Lovebox, which is a two day music and dance festival which takes place at Victoria Park. This event welcomes the top DJ’s and live bands and a host of performances. It is fun for the yonger generation that are looking for fun and excitement during their city break.

The next top event that draws millions of people to London each summer is the famous Wimbledon Tennis Championships that takes place for two weeks at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. This tennis championship is the oldest tennis championship in the world dating back to 1877 and today it is one in four major grand slams, yet the only one that is played on a grass court. It attracts some of the best names in tennis right now and is brimming with excitement, strawberries, cocktails and a day of fun in the sun.

The Somerset House Summer Series is a reputable open air festival that attracts thousands of visitors who are looking for a day of music, dance and festivities. It is definitely not one you will want to miss when next in London.

The Lambeth Country Show always attracts hundreds of visitors to London. In 2017 it is celebrating forty two years with home grown vegetables on display, a flower competition, sheep shearing and even a mini farm for the younger children. It’s a fun day out for the whole family.

AfroPunk and Sunfall are both top dance festivals with leading DJ’s and bands that arre guaranteed to get you dancing. Not to mention the famous Notting Hill Carnival, which is the largest street party in London with calypso music, a parade and over thirty sound systems placed strategical through the streets which sees over fifty thousand participants.

There are a few things to remember when traveling to London for the summer season. Whether you are visiting for a mini break or for a couple of weeks, you want to ensure the accommodation you choose isn’t only comfortable, but is ideally located. All the events that take place in London are throughout the city and you will want to be close to the public transport links to ensure you can get to them with ease.

Take a close look at the top attractions and sights you may want to visit during your stay. Do you want to experience the famous London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel that will provide you with staggering views as far as your eyes can see, sitting on the edge of the River Thames. In fact this is the ideal place for some romance, a sunset ride and maybe even a proposal.

Buckingham Palace changing of the guards is another event not to be missed. This attracts hundreds of visitors to the palace gates to watch the guards doing their change, a routine that has been done for years and is a procession like no other.

Remember that there are some fantastic restaurants in London, owned by Michelin star chefs, such as Gordon Ramsay. The concierge at your hotel will be able to advise you and make your reservation on your behalf for added convenience.

Booking a Hotel Online? Here Are Some Things to Remember

Booking a hotel online is an easy task and yet it takes a lot of consideration. Unfortunately many people find themselves disappointed when booking into a hotel online because the hotel may use old photographs of rooms or the guests expect more than the hotel can provide. In order to reduce the risk of disappointment, there are a number of things you should remember to ensure that your time away from home is enjoyable and one to remember for years.

The main factor you are going to want to focus on when looking at hotels online is the location. If you are planning a business trip then you want to ensure you are located close to where you are attending meetings, but if you are going on a holiday, then you want to ensure you are close to the public transport services so that you can explore with ease and confidence.

The next thing you are going to want to take note of when looking at any hotels online is the star rating. All hotels get a star rating, which determines the level of accommodation, service and facilities you can expect. A good example is that there is a big difference between a three star and a five star hotel, over and above the price. A five star will offer you twenty four hour room service, a twenty four hour reception desk and they have a swimming pool, while the three star will offer you good and comfortable accommodation and breakfast.

Before you get excited and book into a hotel you know you can afford which is in the right location, take a few minutes to read through their online reviews and see what past and current guests have to say. Reading through the reviews can help you identify if the hotel does offer you the services that they promise and that their description meets what clients have experienced. It can give you much needed peace of mind and make it easier for you to make your booking with confidence and ease.

Further, you are going to want to look at transport options. Can the hotel assist you with an airport shuttle or do you need to travel with public transport. Either way you want to ensure the hotel is within easy access so that you can get from the airport to your accommodation without too much fuss.

Consider the type of accommodation provided by the hotel. Do they give you a choice of rooms that you can select from? Do they have guest rooms and suites? Do the rooms come with modern conveniences such as televisions, coffee making facilities and en-suite bathrooms? What about Wi-Fi, can they provide this service to the rooms? These are important factors you will want to look at to ensure the hotel meets your exact specifications now and on the day of arrival to reduce the risk of disappointment.

The final factors to consider before booking is to identify the facilities and services provided by the hotel. Not all hotels offer the same facilities and services so this is an important step to ensure you are going to get the services and the experiences you want to achieve when staying in the hotel.

Facilities may include an on-site restaurant, an on-site wellness center and a concierge service. While the services may include everything from daily housekeeping to twenty four hour room service and free Wi-Fi. They may also be able to provide you with assistance on tours, car hire and more to make your stay memorable and enjoyable.

5 Solo Travel Tips – How to Pay Less for Luxury Lodging

For tours, “single supplements” are generally added over the per person rate for pairs and couples. Lodging is less clear. In most of the world, prices are a so-called “rack rate” or by the rooms based on double accommodations. As the number of solo travelers has increased, travel providers have added some better pricing options. While we all work to build a more level playing field, here are our 5 updated tips for luxury lodging at better prices.

1. Modify your searches for booking engines. Manually convert “one room” to “one adult”. In Europe, the good news is that such solo prices for lodging are common. Once you change from 2 to 1 adult, prices may drop 40%.

2. For short trips, vacation mid-week. When everyone else is back-to-school or back to work, you can take advantage of reduced traffic discounts.

3. Consider ways to save on meals. I found a great room rate at a 5-star Nordic hotel. However, I skipped the $110 dollar dinner on-site for a trip to a local deli for about $10.

4. Check out season deals. These are most common at ski resorts. The fabled Lodge at Sun Valley (subject of a classic film) has had really reduced rates just prior to the Dec. 22 holiday influx.

5. Don’t bypass the famous names assuming they are too costly. One great such option is the 5-star Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. They now offer a solo priced room. (Always check the size to see if it is a standard/double room or a smaller single room.)

Look for our updated solo travel tips so that your next trip will be your best.

Why Is Display of Art In Hotels So Significant?

Are luxury hotels becoming fine art spaces?

Art has been a part of the hospitality industry for a very long time now. Hoteliers have often had to embrace creative strategies to make a hotel standout. By placing interesting and eye-catching artwork throughout the hotel, they’ve offered an exclusive experience to their clientele.

Artwork helps build the identity of a hotel and offers a superior aesthetic experience by creating inspiring and stimulating ambience. While the smaller accommodation options prefer cost efficiency and core amenities, artwork is almost integral to luxury, boutique, and design hotels.

The Need for Art

Artwork is a representation of the society because they served both as functional and symbolic elements. While some may say that art is a display of their ethnic sophistication, for some it may be more of an individualistic expression. As a functional element, artwork is utilized for psychological and healing purposes, for social causes, and even as a mode of communication. Personally, they connect people to their roots or the broader human condition. Artwork also evokes curiosity, interest and provides an exuberant experience.

Elevating the Style of Hotels through Artwork

Curating art for a hotel is often done by the hoteliers themselves, and, for this reason, it often reflects their values, creativity and the theme they are tying display. There is a separate budget earmarked for this purpose, and even though the investment in art is limited, it has given rise to different types of marketing strategies for hoteliers.

Use of paintings, sculptures or creative features in hotels, is without a doubt an effective way to revamp its look without investing in the structural changes, which could prove to be more expensive and time-consuming. Hoteliers who are experienced often say that simple changes in the color of the walls or the readjustment of the furniture can visually expand the room by as much as a feet. In fact the rooms that have framed artwork by famous painters are more expensive than others.

Integrating Artistic Communities and Galleries with Hotels

Famous luxury hotels are generally aided by the artistic community for new and exciting artworks. This helps hotels remain up to date with the latest trends while artists get a canvas to showcase their talents. It is a collaboration that is beneficial for both parties. As quoted by Paul Morris, the famous host of numerous international art fairs, including the Armory Show in New York City, “Hotels really can’t get away with putting mallard prints on the wall anymore. Therefore they need to tap into the artistic communities for help.”

Independent art consultants and interior designers are also known to frequently collaborate hotels. Not only do they help define the look of the property, they are able to source art locally from the best talent and get it at a great bargain. With the help of interior designers and consultants, hoteliers are able to achieve new heights in creativity.

Hotels That Have Brilliantly Integrated Art

In these times, art has become fundamental to a hotel instead of just being ornamental or an element of its design. As a result, hoteliers are inspired to think outside of the box and curate art in the most exquisite and unexpected ways possible.

Take for instance, the typical room at the Thompson LES hotel in Manhattan, which has an industrial-chic loft with exposed concrete columns and floor to ceiling windows. But what really catches your eye in the room is the artwork that hangs above the bed. It is a giant light box inside which there is a photo of a tree from photographer Lee Friedlander’s ‘Apples & Olives’ series. Stunning as the installation is, it also perfectly complements the organic setting of the room.

In the past decade, hotels like the Wynn Las Vegas, Chambers in Minneapolis, the Sagamore in Miami Beach and the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Orlando have all displayed wide-ranging collections of art. The Gramercy Park Hotel, after being refurbished, has high-caliber artwork on display. In fact, the Museum of Modern Art is known to have taken a tour group to the hotel. I would call that high praise indeed!

Abstract artist Lynette Shaw painted a series of eight serene, textured canvases as large as eight feet across for the lobby and restaurant at the Wyvern Hotel in Las Vegas. Today the artwork is the most attractive quality of the hotel. Other hotels with famous artwork include the Ace Hotel in New York with four art-centric properties. The Pod Hotel in New York also features frameless art. J. M. Rizzi, the artist, has painted city scenes and abstract shapes directly on to the walls of the lobby and the corridors.

Most hotels commission and collect art that bring out the elements of the city inside the hotels. In some cases, they create a visual record of the rapidly developing neighborhood. For example in South Miami, the owner Michael Achenbaum commissioned Deborah Anderson, a London-based multimedia artist to shoot some of the area’s Art Deco architecture and also staged shots of tattooed models with ’50s hair and clothing. The photographer finally compiled 300 photographs, which were made into the 2,800 prints to be hung throughout the Gansevoort South.

Art in Indian Hotels

If you’re wondering where India stands on incorporating art in the hospitality industry, we have some stellar examples of our own. And why not! Indians have a reputation for being artistically inclined and we have some of the most beautiful examples of architecture in the world. There’s absolutely no way that we’d be left behind when showcasing artistic talent on the walls of our hotels.

Take for example the Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad. In a land that’s famous for the creative sensibilities of the Nizams, the hotel does justice to its legacy and heritage. Falaknuma’s frescoed ceilings, carved furniture, and Venetian chandeliers have art aficionados in throes of ecstasy. The library in the hotel is a replica of the Windsor Castle in U.K. and is home to 6,000 books. You’re free to take a tour of the Falaknuma Palace accompanied by the hotel’s historian, who takes you through a trip back in time as he regales you with stories from days gone by.

Yet another name that pops to mind is the ITC Maurya in the capital of India. As soon as you enter the hotel’s lobby, you’re greeted by the stunning visual spectacle that is Krishen Khanna’s ‘The Great Procession’ – a rich depiction of the vibrant life in India. But your artistic experience doesn’t end here. There are other exemplary works scattered around the hotel, including Tyeb Mehta’s ‘Bull in the Landscape’ painting and AR Ramachandran’s Ashoka ‘After Kalinga War’ – a sculpture etched with Ashoka’s anti-war inscriptions in Devanagri.

There is no end to instances of brilliant exhibition of art in hotels. It is significant to their identity and being. In fact artists consider it an achievement to have their paintings hang at famous hotel chains. The melange of art in hotels is what makes them an aspiration place where people want to spend their holidays. And in many cases, it forms an intrinsic part of the memories that a traveler carries back with him when he comes away from the hotel.

How To Be A Good Guest In A Homestay

Homestays are becoming increasingly popular with more and more people opting to stay in a homely environment during vacations. It gives you the advantage of learning about the local culture while also enjoying some homemade food. Moreover, it gives the real taste of a particular place’s lifestyle, which something one should try experiencing at least once in their lives.

However, when you board at a homestay, regular families will greet you instead of trained staff members. Which is why it becomes important to be careful of your behavior and etiquette so that you leave a good impression behind. Here are some ways of doing so.

Learn about the Culture of the Place

Culture can be a very important aspect of a person’s life, especially in Asian countries. So, let’s say, for instance, you are booking cheap flights, take some more time and read up about their culture too. This will help you gel well with your hosts and make you seem less foreign.

Be at Your Best Behavior

Remember that when you are lodging at a homestay, you are using someone’s home. Before you start your stay, ask them if they have any specific rules you need to follow. This way, you will not be disturbing them while enjoying your vacation. Also, be warm toward them so that they don’t have a skewed idea of the country you are representing.

Treat it Like a Homestay

Most often people forget the basic difference between a homestay and a hotel stay. At hotels, staff members will be at your beck and call. They will assist you with anything you want. But when you are staying at someone’s home, they might not have the manpower to do so. Try and help out as much as you can. If it’s not too much of a work, keep your room and bathroom as clean as possible. Additionally, try cleaning up after you have finished your meals.

Care for their Home

People often host guests to earn some extra cash on the side but that doesn’t mean, it’s not difficult to give up a portion of their house to strangers. Which is why, as guests, it becomes your duty to take care of their furniture and infrastructure. Don’t damage the property and try to treat it like your own home. Remember that someone has built it with as much love and care as you built your own.

These are some of the tips that will help you be a good guest at a homestay. And last but not the least, the best tip is always to be as smiling and welcoming as possible.