An Overview Of The Best Hotels In Paris

Paris is one of the most favored tourist locations across the world. Every year, millions of travelers from across the world come over to Paris for a romantic and memorable trip of their life. This City of Lights is extremely well connected with the metro system; therefore, tourists have an option to choose a hotel in any part of the city that suits their budget.

If you are planning for a vacation in this fashion city, it is suggested that you do some research for the best hotel Paris. Based on your budget, you can select from a multitude of hotels that provide a varying degree of services and deals. You should also try to make the hotel reservations in advance, especially if you plan to travel during the spring, fall, or Christmas time. These are considered to be the busiest times in Paris and you may not find one of the best hotels in Paris without an advance reservation.

If you are looking for the most luxurious hotels de Paris, Meurice is just the one for you! The location of this amazing hotel that overlooks Jardin des Tuileries and is next to rue de Rivoli, makes it superior to all other hotels. The world-class interiors of the Meurice have an exclusive mixture of gold, marble, and glass that are a treat to watch. The rooms and suites of this world-class hotel, which have rich traditional interior and ethnic furnishings, take you back to the 18th century. This hotel boasts of a great restaurant that offers mouth-watering delicacies and an amazing bar that has a collection of the best French wines.

The Lancaster is another of the best hotels in Paris that provides world-class accommodation and in-room entertainment. This hotel has a huge guest list of celebrities who at one time or the other stayed in this magnificient hotel. The Lancaster boasts of rich traditional furniture and a red leather lift that takes you to your bedroom. The restaurant has a mouth-watering menu card that will make you want to eat more and more and makes the Lancaster one of the best hotels de Paris.

For another best hotel Paris, try out the Ritz. The reason that sets the Ritz apart from other hotels and makes it one of the best hotels in Paris is its tradition, legendary past, and prestige. This palace hotel is located on the gorgeous Place Vendome and is at a walking distance from the leading historical monuments and shopping centers in Paris. The Ritz has a great deal of elegantly decorated rooms along with specialty suites like Coco Chanel, Windsor, and Imperial. It offers outstanding facilities for dining, recreation, and fitness.

Therefore, if you are looking for the best hotel Paris for your dream vacation, try out any of the ones mentioned above. These hotels offer you with world-class facilities and services and make sure that you get value for your money. By choosing from one of these hotels de Paris, you will surely make your vacation a memorable and unforgettable one.

A Florence Hotel That Has It All

What do you look for in a hotel? A Florence hotel is sure to have it all. Some want a quiet retreat while others want to be close to the action. Making your own checklist of your likes and dislikes when it comes to turning in for the night will help you find a good Florence hotel. This will serve as your home base to day excursions or just a walking tour of the city.

Florence Accommodation Checklist

Take a minute to evaluate your preferences by answering a few questions:

1. Do you like an extremely quiet hotel?
2. Do you like to rent a car and drive to most attractions?
3. Would you like a home-like feeling to your sleeping arrangements?
4. Is it important for you to be able to cook small snacks or meals in your room?
5. Will you have children with you on your Florence vacation?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions then you many like a Florence farmhouse or apartment arrangement. A farmhouse will be outside the city limits and apartments can be either in town or further away in the surrounding towns.

Now evaluate yourself on these questions:

1. Do you like to have room service at your hotel?
2. Would you prefer to use public transportation to get around?
3. Do you want to be within walking distance of tourist attractions?
4. Is it important to you to have services available 24 hours per day?
5. Do you like an active night life?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then you are probably looking for a larger hotel, perhaps a well-known chain, in the heart of the city. Here you will have amenities such as room service, and you will be able to get around without having to rent a car.

The Sites of Florence

Within the general area of Florence there are hotels, bed & breakfast inns, farmhouses, villas and apartments. If you are planning to stay for an extended vacation or 2 weeks or more, it can be more affordable to stay in a villa or apartment where you can shop for your own groceries and not need to eat every meal out.

If you are looking for luxury and service, then full-service hotels or well-staffed villas are a good option. No matter what type of accommodations you choose, you will want to visit the Florence museums and travel the countryside of Tuscany.

Within the city limits of Florence there is world-class shopping. Gold and leather are especially good purchases, since the quality is extremely high, but prices are low. Also, the museums of Florence house masterpieces by the world’s greatest artists. In the country side you will find the wine of Chianti to be a memorable experience.

Everything is within a short drive outside the city or within walking distance in the city. So no matter what type of Florence hotel you end up staying in, you will not be far from the best tourist attractions. Also within a day’s drive or train ride are the attractions of Venice, Rome, and Bologna. Florence is central to it all.

A Complete Holiday In Greece

A staple throughout history, Greece is a country filled with stories and landmarks that have remained for many centuries. This fact is not lost on the 15 million or more people that visit this country each year.

If you are thinking of planning a trip to the area here is some advice to make sure you get the most out of your Greece vacation.

To start your holiday in Greece, you must visit the Acropolis. This locale has been depicted hundreds of times in pictures, books, and movies. This is an area where legends were born and geniuses gathered.

Just below the Acropolis is the city of Ancient Agora. While in ruins, walking through the area that is over 2,500 years old lets you tread on the same ground as Plato and Socrates.

Discover Greece from the air. There is no better way to really take in the historic city of Athens than by seeing the whole thing, at once, by air. There are many helicopter tours available that will give you a 30 minute ride in the skies over Athens, pointing out all the landmarks you won’t want to miss.

It’s worth the time to make a stop at the National Archaeological Museum with a wide selection of historical antiquities. It is regarded as one of the world’s best museums.

If you are looking for a great outdoor experience while on your holiday in Greece, bring your hiking shoes and take a stroll down the Vindos Gorge. This Northern Greece location is the deepest canyon in the world, as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records.

Looking for a little water time? Head to the beaches of Crete. These beaches are some that many European visitors have tried to keep as a secret for their own enjoyment for many years.

If you want to make a difference while in Greece and are attached to the oceanfront, there is an organization called the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Protection Society that is always looking for volunteers. They need people who will help them monitor the nesting habits of the sea turtles every summer.

There are also events you can take part if to do as the Grecians do is you choose to vacation at the right time of year. Here are some to consider.

If music is your escape from the world, the Rockwave festival is held every summer. It is a three-day event in which three stages are constantly heralding music. One stage features metal, one showcases rock, and another plays dance music.

Try out a local sporting event. If you’re there in football season (soccer for Americans) you may want to try to attend a Hellenic National League football game. Be sure you’re up for it. Football fans in this area are passionate about their sport and may even storm the field if they don’t like an official call.

If you are the athletic type, head to Greece in November and strap your running shoes on. This is when the Athens marathon is run, on the same route as the Olympic marathon.

The Amazing Hotel Towel

Author’s Note: Please bear in mind this story is fiction based on fact.

By the way… I’m not racist. And all of life itself is ludicrously sexist. Our Baptist Church was colored only, and we worked very hard for civil rights during those times, but hardly at all for women’s rights. This story is partly about that silent and much neglected fact.

When the Negro menfolk in front of the fateful scene at the colored hotel got together for the photo of the murder of Dr. Kane, they pointed their arms wildly in circles, more or less in the direction of the sniper. Shocked utmost, they couldn’t think or point straight. They had been the great black man’s protective entourage. Lots of people would have died to have taken those bullets, and those young men were no exception. But it was too late; Dr. Kane was dead of several gunshot wounds in his hotel room.

So the men were quite put out, completely frightened witless, as they gesticulated like waving palm fronds in a house fire. Screaming loudly, appearing to be forever lost, they were nonetheless an equivocal bloblike group of all male togetherness. I stood there, trying to get to the hotel room, unable to push past their bunched up moving group.

I was the maid. I had to go inside, into Dr. Kane’s hotel room. I had the equipment around the corner. I was waiting – because I was stark staring terrified the sniper would shoot me. He was right around the corner on the opposite side of the tracks, only about a hundred feet away. And he had a gun with an excellent sight. Pausing momentarily, I was standing there realizing something, and then I hated myself completely. I had been told by our hotel management to go mop up the room.

I had to get at the hotel room’s towels first. I would be cleaning up some excess blood, slightly. And of course, in the popular and famous colored hotel we were working at, the towels ran short sometimes. I was stuck taking the blame for that, and they were constantly threatening to fire me from my job for breathing. In spite of them, I liked the man who had been kindly staying at our hotel – for being what he wasn’t: a fat comic.

Dying in public was such a martyr thing to do. Martin the Martyr – what a name, what a fate. He was a serious victim like me, a social pawn. I was in love with the guy for breathing, even though he wasn’t. I still wanted to. Anyway, I was stuck standing there, idiotically wondering if James Earl Ray, the assassin as it turned out, liked to shoot hotel maids.

I finally let out a dry chuckle. Both of those young men, famous and infamous, would have to face a terrible final reckoning. Life was totally unjust and unfair. I had no real man in my life to take care of me. Also, I had no unearthly paradise known as Heaven, especially anymore. Now that Dr. Kane was dead, who knew what was going to happen next?

Trembling with both fear and rage, I had a feeling the murderer was going to shoot me. Meanwhile, I had to plan something to get in there to mop up the room, if I wanted to keep my job. Coughing into my fist, I thought I’d rather be shot dead than to undergo such ridiculous indignity.

Then Joshua Jackson ran into the room. I thought, the guy is going to check on the “amazing grace character” in there, namely a Baptist fountain of blood. Y’see, our church worshipped such strange stuff as “fountains of blood of Jesus.” They hated it, but we Baptists were supposed to go be Jesus more so than we ever seemed to. It was somehow important culturally. So I wondered if he went in there to mourn, or worship.

Suddenly, it hit me that someone else was going to see it all. Childish curiosity almost got hold of my so-called “soul.” I wanted to see what was happening briefly, but felt screamingly depressed. Not because I wasn’t bathing in a fountain of Jesus’ amazing blood, like our church was always singing about, but because I had to hold my amazing job. The streets are not a pretty thing to do, especially when you’re colored in the Deep South. Mostly I had to go in and do my job, or I’d be fired.

Anyway, I waited a long time for Mr. Jackson. I thought I heard mumbling sounds and some thrashing. I waited until it settled down, figuring that while I harrumphed to myself, the amazing toy man – at least, people treated him like he was one – was getting dead in the usual way. Previous to my maid job, I had been a nurse at a county hospital. I had seen people die. I would miss the amazing toy man to myself, but I was getting impatient, and I had to get back to my house at five o’clock or five thirty and fix dinner for my abusive husband, or he might beat me – or even kill me. That’s why I didn’t suffer much over the death of Dr. Kane., aside from worrying over whether the assassin would shoot me too.

Why bother? If my death didn’t matter, why mourn someone else’s?

Coughing, I wondered if Dr. Kane abused his wife Coletta. I was a bold Coletta fan to myself in my own Hitchcockian Star Trek Twilight Zone. Fairer skinned than her husband, she was a much learned lady and his intellectual equal. I was also part white, kind of Semitic, having to hide myself from strangers, sometimes. Because I wasn’t really Jewish, but I came from those roots and looked medium toned racially impure. The hotel the great man had been killed at was one of the few places that would hire me, as back in those days places didn’t often hire colored folk, along with the white people geriatric hospital – at which I had been a bed pan orderly.

At the hospital, when someone died, we had to vacate the bed rather quickly. You don’t leave dead people lying around for very long. You get them down to the morgue and they then get shipped out by car to the funeral home. Standing around outside the hotel room was getting to be rather obtuse; I couldn’t keep the people downstairs waiting any longer. I’d have to get in there, sniper or no sniper, even if I died doing it.

So after a long time of feeling like cowering, I finally breathed a big sigh of relief and shouted, “So are you still over there yet?” I screamed really loud, but got no response. Gathering myself, I waltzed the ten million light years around my maid cart. Death was actually real. I had to leave the hotel cart behind – because it could barely fit around the wall’s corner. I thought as I left that I was to blame for not getting around it. I paused. I went back and tried to pull the cart around, and managed to get it in front of the room.

Then it dawned on me what a nice hotel this had been for a fat man who was now in Paradise. It had housed many of the greats of jazz and black culture in its time, including comedians. But Dr. Kane was not truly a fat comic, as he’d been dead serious about everything he’d ever said, which involved getting human rights for colored people and getting rid of racial segregation. I was in favor of that, but not very grateful, being an abused wife with a small daughter at home. I was not in Paradise myself, not yet, but I briefly had to wonder where “He” had gone.

He was so cool, I smiled to myself. But then, clutching my throat, I realized he was so – dead. And he was inconveniently leaving a mess for me to clean up. I frowned summarily, and froze up. But I thought, well, it’s really only some blood, nothing special I haven’t seen before. Any diseases didn’t really matter to me, as I’d been exposed to them when I’d worked in the hospital. And Mr. Jackson had raced right in as I had read he had done in the papers. The man had done his track at college.

I finally got the cart into the room by jerking and pulling it around the tight corner. I was standing behind the cart in the room with the dead great man. I was solid there for two seconds, hoping that all “great men” would die someday. One of them was coming home to me. I wondered briefly about the relationships between suns, moons and stars, and life on Venus and Mars. “Fly me to the moon,” I muttered to myself under my breath.

Meanwhile, I understood that any second now, unimportant I was possibly going to be executed. Briefly, I had seemed to see the assassin’s face by looking over yonder. Gazing down at the dead man’s corpse, I stared for a moment into an unequivocal “maybe.” I would join him by jerking around like a demented puppet, or not. My heart sunk as I realized that such a death would not have anywhere near the honor of Dr. Kane’s death. His had been an assassination; mine would be an accident. I was merely the hotel room maid – and was being made fun of by impertinent people.

Would the gunman shoot me? And for that matter, did I really care? At least we’d go down in history together, although I could only picture the brief newspaper story reading, “Maid dies after Dr. Kane.” I had been involved in civil rights protests, but only as a minor participant. I was a nobody.

Gazing off into the far distance, I twisted my narrow lips into a thin smile, daydreaming that one of these overgrown boys had summarily died for me. I was about to make up for the debt through my chosen husband if I didn’t get home in time, and I was immobilized by the thing called death that was behind me. What if the crazy sniper so much as saw another human back? Would I find a proper towel in time? What about the fat man’s lacy white kerchief? Would they arrest me if they thought I had stolen that? And that thing on the floor was no longer human; it was a motionless death trap. In the shadows, it loomed large – as the Specter of Death.

Not to worry, I told myself. I smiled the Black Cat, an African grin that means you’re not afraid, and began the search for towels. Sooner or later, they would come to collect the body. I wrangled with myself, and then I “got it up” – already – and went to the Spartan little bathroom, did my business, and flushed it, but shakily. It was like the room was spinning all around me, a kid’s ride in an obscene amusement park, waiting to die.

I successfully wiped, washed my hands and got out, but then I remembered I needed to get some towels. I had to go back and collect them – while facing the awful cataclysm in the room behind me. The dead great man’s body was in outer space for a moment, but I was definitely in my own disembodied living body, breathing for a space of time longer.

I received the anointment of the towels in a white shaggy pile against my chest, and stalked slowly out to the room. The great man’s sad corpse was still bunched up, lying there. He was partly turned onto his right side, wearing a dark grey business suit and oozing puddles of blood.

I looked behind me to see if anyone was watching, and gave the corpse a medium kick to see if anything was going on. Nothing was, so I began the mop up with the towels. I poked him gently, and then I looked closely at his beautiful, handsome black face, so Negro and with a fine mustache.

It was extremely destroyed. It had been there, but it was not there. It was a cave with no smile, peeled back and sunken in. As it was dark in the room, I didn’t feel like throwing up, though I almost did. Throwing my head to one side, I could see out the glass window. The sniper was still over across from me, disassembling the gun. He was visibly shaken. I began to realize once again that I could see him, and so did he. What should I do?

What if I acted like I was friendly? Would he buy it, coming from a colored lady who might have loved the dead man for trying to win human rights for our people? Or would he think perhaps an underprivileged woman would not have respect for him, as his speeches had oft mentioned men and children, but not women, usually speaking of “the brotherhood of man?”

My hands trembled as I bent partway over, but I knew that I had to hurry and get home. My husband was always trying to make me come home by five or five thirty, or he’d threaten me. I glanced at my watch. Then the loudest, most obnoxious sound occurred, filling the air around my head with its sad smelliness – a final, ceremonial and gratis fart.

I breathed in an elegant, funky sigh, which was at least partly a painful sob, bending over to mop at the sunken body some more with a small face towel. I suddenly saw the larger hand towel I was looking for, scrunched up against me; it was so thick, white and fluffy, and I dabbed at my tears. I cursed myself for showing my pained feelings in front of the sniper.

Rubbing at my dripping nose, I let the towel drop from my heaving chest. I soaked up some of the major blood, waving it at the still visible sniper, and stuffed it briefly into my green apron’s pocket – while thinking something about what a great man this dead guy might be. In a world of sexism where wife abuse was common, was it possible to be great, even if you were dead – or especially if you were dead? Briefly, I wondered, and gulped.

I stuffed the red stained hand towel all the way clear down into my pocket. And I used a face towel to wipe off my right hand with the other wedding ring on it, deciding to keep only the hand towel. Sniffling, I determined to keep myself from crying – or feeling anything further. I was only soaking a towel in blood to sell it later, not mourning the dead, and this man was not a relative of mine, or anyone who could help me any further.

I left the corpse behind, and then I looked at the door that wasn’t exactly being pounded on. I heard noise, but nothing coming near the room. Well, I went out on the balcony and waved the towel at whoever was still across the way, and saw the man who had killed Dr. Kane. I waved my towel at him, smiling the Black Cat to let him know “all was well.” I was taking my chances. He was at the end of dismantling his gun, and he seemed to look down – as if his faith in humanity had greatly died.

Much relieved, I knew now he wasn’t going to shoot me. I memorized his ugly features, but figured they would find him, so I wasn’t too worried. The great man’s entourage had seen him earlier, and had probably summoned the cops. I heard later they chased him all the way to England.

I figured it was for the best. If my own husband ever murdered me, I didn’t think anything real would be done about it, so I didn’t care whether or not they caught Dr. Kane’s murderer. It didn’t bring him back to life or undo anything that had already happened. It’s not that I was ungrateful when it came to the wonderful things Dr. Kane had done. I merely needed the money. I had a young daughter to raise, and might have to leave my husband. Surely the amazing towel would make me a fortune, once I found the right collection-minded buyer.

Most importantly, I now held the amazing, blood-soaked hotel towel. The martyr-born sacred object was finally in my cold fingered grasp. I knew that it would sell someday as prime memorabilia. It had no special scent of justice on it. I walked away from my job in the room. I was going home at last. I had the most expensive towel I had ever collected in my life. I smiled. I was going to make My Favorite Martyr appear in human history later, all by myself. I had established a collector’s item – in my own greedy mind. All I had to do was wait a couple years, after the hubbub had died down.

Here came the reporters. I stepped back against the outside floor’s metal railing, and one of them brushed a certain body part as they all shoved their way into the room. I was jerking like a puppet, my heart was pounding, and I had been there and in on it, all the way. I had both an incredible story – and the hotel towel. The one from the room he’d died in, the very room!

As the flashlights popped, I turned to race down the stairs. Uneducated me was holding a small fortune in her blood-reddened apron. I collected my amazing “character,” as money-oriented as it may be, and knew I was going to be late home. If so, my husband might beat me up, or even kill me. But I had a chance at life nestled in my apron pocket.

“I hate men, all men,” I chanted to myself as I descended the first flight of stairs. “I’m doing this for my daughter and me. You can’t stop us!”

Dead men take vengeance, I suppose, from a time and a distance away. Banging into the stairs railing, I was looking down far onto the ground below. It seemed to zoom upwards, as my stomach did flips, and I lurched. Pulling away, I was diving around the stair’s corner in a lost little world that I was only too glad to throw away. The railing was there, hard, tempting me to throw myself off. Trembling, I did not jump over the edge.

“There’s no such thing as justice; I’m not evil.” I thought perhaps I lied, but while thinking I might be right. After all, when was my life ever fair? “Don’t judge my by the color of my skin; judge me by how much money I’ve got,” I breathed to myself, glancing down at the metal steps below. Their peeling paint attested to my poverty stricken life, which would surely change.

Sighing, I collected myself and “established justice” by waltzing down the stairs. It was wonderful of me to judge a man – not by his skin color – but by my amazing towel. The dead Dr. Kane had helped someone else out again. I thought to myself, surely he would approve – if he knew about it. And if not, so what? He’d be another hard headed, hard hearted man. I didn’t believe he was like that, and hoped for his blessing. Still, I felt a little guilt ridden, taking a hotel towel soaked in his dying, martyred blood, only to sell it.

I was headed home in a big fat hairy hurry with a gift from God himself in my green hotel maid apron’s pocket. I was going to keep that amazing towel for several decades, until it was worth some big bucks in the Heaven which I would surely never obtain, as it didn’t exist.

Years later, I sold the amazing “Elvis Presley” souvenir towel. I could find no one who wanted to buy the one from Dr. Kane. For you see, I told everyone that it contained the blood of the amazing “Elvis Presley.” And so I sold the towel to the one “true believer” in Elvis the Pelvis – who had tried to come on to me after I got the Black Eye from my abusive husband. The divorce had settled – and I’d gotten custody of my daughter. She had talked me out of selling the towel as Dr. Kane’s, saying that it was in poor taste to sell an American Negro martyr’s blood.

“Just say it’s Elvis Presley’s blood,” she said, “Nobody cares about him; he was only a white Indian who sang really well, not an important martyred political figure responsible for the lives of millions of people.”

I still went to my church sometimes, but it was filling up with other colored people with angry characters, so I left. I was hiding like sixty, but at least I had someone well convinced about the nature of the amazing “Elvis Presley” towel. I finally sold it on eBay, where we traded pictures, and he really went for the Elvis routine. He himself was rather handsome, and we dated – for awhile. He threw me over for some blonde chick with a limp. He kept telling me he had to take care of her.

In my dreams, in my sleep, I was “burninhellvalkery” – my eBay username – who had sold her soul to the Devil. But I received only $500 in cash for said amazing towel. It helped put my daughter through school, and she excelled at most of her subjects. But she was killed by a drunk driver last August. She had been nice, but she tended to blame me for taking the towel of a fat – but macho – martyred Negro comic…

…away. Take it away, whoever you are. Take it away. And play jazz on it forever.

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Amazing Hotels in Mumbai

Mumbai ranks among the leading melting pots of the world. This is because there are numerous different kinds of ethnic groupings, religions and cultures within this amazing city. It is also a very vibrant metropolis that attracts numerous tourists every year.

To this end, this enchanting city never has a shortage of business tourists, leisure travelers and budget tourists. The fact that it never goes to sleep and that most businesses of interest operate on a 24 hour economy basis makes it all the more attractive for visitors from far and near.

This means that there are numerous amazing hotels in Mumbai that you will certainly be pleased to stay in. All these hotels occupy their own unique spots- mainly near tourist attraction sites so you can have an easier time roaming through the points of interest in Mumbai.

From the vast stretch that is occupied by the Juhu beach, you can get nice and cozy hotels that will remind you of home. The hotels located here are especially convenient since they will offer you a unique opportunity to wander down to the beach, enjoy the sun, meet locals and see families enjoying their picnics- or even have your own picnic.

There are a number of other benefits that come from staying at hotels in Mumbai. For starters, the rates are very affordable. Even if you are staying at 5 star hotel, the rates reflect the local economy and not international standards. This way, you can be certain that you will save lots of money staying at such budget hotels as the Bawa Regency, the Metro Palace, the Privilege Inn or the Royal Castle.

The second benefit that you will get from staying at hotels in Mumbai comes from the fact that the ambience is to die for. To this end, you will discover the rich mix that is India by spending your time in Mumbai hotels.

The implication being made here is that you will receive the warmest of Indian hospitality. For instance, most of the hotels in Mumbai have massage parlors and spa treatments seeing as most of these therapies emanated from India.

Most hotels in Mumbai also offer world standard services. From room service to free access to the internet via Wi- Fi connectivity, you will certainly feel at home immediately you get your room key. Most of these hotels also have air conditioning so you will want to get back to your hotel room after a long glorious day in the Mumbai sunshine.

There are also various categories of hotels in Mumbai. You can get the cheapest of hotel rooms and the most expensive. This has made Mumbai very attractive to all sorts of tourists. For instance, in case you are a business tourist, you will find it convenient to stay at a four or five star rated hotel.

Finally, on the other hand, budget travelers will save lots of money spending their time in Mumbai at a 2 star hotel such as Sea Side or the Nagina. The implication being made here is that hotels in Mumbai will cater well to any sort of tourist or traveler.

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Sheraton launches Grand brand in West Africa

Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, part of Marriott International, has announced the debut of its Sheraton Grand brand in Africa with opening of the Sheraton Grand Conakry in Guinea, West Africa.
Sheraton launches Grand brand in West AfricaThe newly built hotel marks Marriott International’s entry into West Africa and joins a portfolio of more than 35 Sheraton Grand properties worldwide, with destinations spanning Istanbul, Dubai, Bangalore, Beijing and beyond.

“Sheraton has a strong heritage in Africa that dates back to 1971,” said Alex Kyriakidis, president and managing director, Middle East and Africa, Marriott International. “Over the last four decades, the brand has maintained its first mover advantage through strategic pipeline development and growth plans, giving global travellers access to more destinations in every corner of the globe. Sheraton Grand Conakry not only marks our entry into a new country, but will also create a halo effect for the brand and serve as a great example of our transformation efforts.”

Within easy reach from the international airport, Sheraton Grand Conakry is conveniently situated in Conakry’s up-and-coming trendy Kipe district. With an enviable ocean-front location, the hotel introduces modern, elegant design, signature brand programing and an elevated guest experience for business and leisure travellers in the heart of West Africa.

There are 269 guestrooms with ocean views. The 49 Sheraton Club rooms and suites offer exclusive access to the Sheraton Club Lounge. Leisure facilities include an extensive 300 square meter fitness center with equipment available 24 hours a day, an infinity pool and Spa.

With more than 1300 square meters of dedicated meeting space, Sheraton Grand Conakry features a Grand Ballroom with state-of-the-art facilities and endless connectivity through high-speed Wi-Fi, along with 15 meeting rooms and a fully equipped business centre.

“We are proud to be the first Sheraton Grand in Africa and Indian Ocean,” said Helga Deboeck, General Manager of Sheraton Grand Conakry. “We have worked diligently to ensure the hotel goes above and beyond to deliver a fresh, modern and memorable experience to our guests setting a new benchmark of service within West Africa.”

When things go wrong. How to mitigate liability in the hospitality industry

There’s that scary video doing the rounds on social media where the shark gets into the cage, with someone inside, during a diving excursion. And while the chances of something like this happening are very low, it does highlight the importance of proper liability coverage for any business operating in the hospitality sector.
When things go wrong. How to mitigate liability in the hospitality industry
Because such companies are traditionally very busy during the December/January holiday period, it’s vital that they have proper liability cover in place.

“This includes restaurants, game lodges, hotels, travel agents and tour operators, adventure sports providers and other types of accommodation providers, such as a bed and breakfast or guesthouse,” says Simon Colman, head: commercial solutions at SHA Specialist Underwriters.

Impossible to eliminate all risk

“Businesses in the hospitality industry should also ensure that all safety precautions that can reasonably be expected of the business are taken, not only to protect their customers from injury but to also minimise the possibility of costly litigation following an accident. It is, of course, impossible to eliminate all liability risk.”

He explains that currently, the most comprehensive liability insurance available to the hospitality sector is the “broadform” liability policy.

“This cover varies slightly between different insurers, but the essence of the policy remains the same – to deal with third-party liability claims against the business. The cover would generally extend to pay the defence costs as well as damages awarded by the court when legal action is taken against the business following an incident.”

It is however important to note that liability covers are primarily legal defence policies, and won’t automatically step-in to compensate the third party if an incident occurs, he says. “The third party has to establish negligence on the part of the service provider in order to succeed with their claim. Where the facts are unclear or the nature of the injuries to the third party are not immediately apparent, this process may have to flow through the judicial system before liability is established.”

Extreme activities

“With reference to the shark cage diving video, the customer involved in the incident seems to have sustained no obvious physical injuries. A claim could however possibly have been brought forward for some form of psychological injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or emotional trauma. Many liability policies have narrow definitions of ‘injury’ and may not provide cover for this, which is why it is also extremely important for brokers to scrutinise policy wordings for their clients,” he states.

When it comes to tour operators in general, liability insurance can be quite tricky. It is often the case that the tour operator is not directly involved in providing the ancillary adventure services but instead sub-contracts the activities to other service providers. According to Colman, this is where the problem arises.

“It is extremely important that tour operators and travel agents notify their insurers if they offer adventure activities to their clients, either by themselves or through an outsourced provider, as this may have an impact on their insurance premiums and conditions. As mentioned, many underwriters may be unwilling to insure certain activities.”

“Any business owner in the hospitality sector should contact an insurance broker as it is well worth the time to get a professional involved to provide advice and guidance from an insurance perspective. It would also be a good idea to discuss disclaimers and indemnity forms with an attorney to make sure that the maximum protection is in place both from a legal and risk management perspective,” concludes Colman.

The time to reimagine your business model is now

When you’re finished changing, you’re finished,” said the wise Benjamin Franklin. But we don’t need to take his word for it: there are many inspired thoughts that punctuate the role of change in business. The more difficult question is when change should happen.
The time to reimagine your business model is now
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This topic makes business leaders nervous. Change is good, but so is stability. The world does not comprise of only mavericks and trailblazers – and even those often reach their stature through steady determination, not constantly rocking the boat. Timing is important, as is a clear view of what lies ahead.

If there was ever time worth anticipating tomorrow, it is now. As the world builds on the tectonic shift of technology that was the Internet 1.0 era, we move into Industry 4.0, also called the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The radical impact which technologies such as the internet, email and business applications have landed, is now evolving to reach beyond our computer screens and into the world around us.

Breakthroughs such as the Internet of Things, blockchain, artificial intelligence, connected cars, smart cities and personalised consumer experiences are not just shaking things up – they are rewriting the rules.

Unfortunately this means nobody can, with certainty, predict what to expect. We can only determine how to be ready for it.

Waves of change

Radically changing business models is not a new phenomenon. By 2027, three quarters of S&P 500 companies will be replaced. But over the last 60 years nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies ceased to exist as independent entities. The last time business experienced such upheaval was in the late 1970s, when new technologies sparked a massive shakeup of incumbents which lead into the consolidation-crazy 1980s.

Such change always arrives. Hasbro, a multinational toy giant, previously sold textiles. So did Berkshire Hathaway, now an investment titan. Western Union was once the leader of telegraph systems, today it is a leader in cash transfers. Fujifilm has shifted its vast skills in chemicals from photography to making high-end cosmetics.

But the waves of change are bigger, stronger and more frequent. Aptly the theme of the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos was “mastering the fourth industrial revolution.” At SAP we define this event in three stages, aligned to the tropical depression, the tropical storm and the hurricane.

Companies in the tropical depression may not quite recognise change yet, since they seem to be in quiet waters. But the roaring clouds are gathering on the horizon. New business models, cost-saving systems such as IoT technologies and perhaps a bit too much confidence in their sector’s resilience warn of big changes to come.

Those finding themselves in a tropical storm are more acutely aware of these changes and even trying to make the most of it by applying those technologies. They believe they are seeing the peak of the sea-change.

But that perspective is reserved for the companies in the hurricane: industries that are rapidly transforming, due to new business models, powered by modern technology. Nobody in the banking, retail, media or education landscape needs to be notified about change – they are seeing it first-hand.

Business models that show resilience

It is imperative that business leaders reimagine their business models. Fortunately, though we cannot see the future, we can look at what is working so far. There are six distinct business models that have shown their resilience and talent.

First, but in no particular order, is the Outcome Based model. Instead of selling just products or services, a company’s revenue is determined by the outcomes their customers experience. Insurance companies favouring a usage-based model are good examples of this.

The second model is Expansion into New Industries and Markets – the most popular example of disruption. Examples include banks moving into telecommunications and telecommunication moving into banking. Amazon – a major freight customer – is now expanding into that very business.

Digitilisation of Products and Services is the third model. Here companies use digitilisation to improve the entire value chain and reduce costs. Think Apple’s music empire or the drive by banks for customers to swipe cards instead of exchanging cash.

Companies that Compete as an Ecosystem embrace the fourth model, using complementary partners to build richer products. One could argue that car companies have been doing this for decades, but the connected car is reshaping even that stoic sector through new and radical partnerships.

The fifth model needs little introduction. Shared Economy businesses thrive on exploiting under-utilised assets sourced from third parties. AirBnB owns no hotels. Facebook creates no content. Yet both grow on those elements, all coming from the outside.

Finally, the Digital Platform is the sixth model: this could be an online marketplace such as New Zealand’s Powershop; a networking space like SAP Ariba or the business tools found in Microsoft’s Office 365. Digital Platforms not only offer more for less, but create new and exotic ways of monetisation.

Even SAP has shifted its business models. The vast majority of our revenue comes from streams that didn’t even exist a decade ago. Your business may still be in calm seas or perhaps it already feels the waves smacking its hull. Those clouds of change are not going to blow over. It is time to sail the seas of change.

Guide To Mahabaleshwar Best Hotels

Mahabaleshwar is a attractive mountain location of Maharashtra is also the biggest mountain location set in the Sahyadri mountain ranges of Maharashtra. The area breaks prettily considerable up at an level of 1372 m above sea level thus offering a amazing and wonderful view of the encompassing locations. This attractive mountain location skilled with natural bounties features as the best weekend bust break holiday area for the people of Mumbai.

Mahabaleshwar as a result of its area to locations like Mumbai, Pune etc, has become an common weekend bust break area to rest and to which is for another powerful week of work. Due to its slim air Mahabaleshwar is skilled with awesome and pleasant that you are ideal comfort from the challenging and soaked winter of the flatlands.

There are many amazing hotels in Mahabaleshwar that are present across all financial circumstances deviates from the considerable end magnificent location and accommodations to the more small financial circumstances hotels. Surprisingly, the financial circumstances hotels of the area though offering only restricted alternatives and features are preferred by a lot of travelers, though even the magnificent hotels enjoy amazing reputation, but within a market group who prefer to vacation in complete magnificent. For the aid of travelers to Mahabaleshwar this is an knowing into the various Mahabaleshwar hotels.

To begin with the magnificent piece, there are several magnificent hotels and accommodations in Mahabaleshwar known for their fine alternatives and features and also for their top good quality welcome that lavatories special treatment on invitee from when they get into the location ability until when they check out. Some of the common magnificent hotels and accommodations of Mahabaleshwar contain Brightland Trip Town, Natural environment Resorts, Saket Plaza Hotels, Saj Resorts, Ramsukh Resorts, Ishwar Inn Resort and many others.

For travelers looking at the financial circumstances piece they will be damaged for choices for such hotes in Mahabaeshwar as there are a range of amazing financial circumstances hotels mushrommed around key locations of the area, getting travelers with the advantage of area. These financial circumstances hotels providing together a coordinator of features and alternatives are known for their value for money alternatives that appeals to travelers on a financial circumstances. The features and alternatives provided by the financial circumstances hotels though not expensive are comfortable enough for an pleasant stay.

Some of the common financial circumstances hotels in the area contain wood top holiday cottage, rahi plaza hotels, Dwarka Hotels, Vimal Home home gardens, Rahil Around the world location and many others. Besides the described hotels there are plenty more good quality hotels in Mahabaleshwar across all financial circumstances sessions offering every selection and class of travelers.

There are many excellent accommodations in Mahabaleshwar that are present across all finances varies from the substantial end luxurious destination and hotels to the more small finances accommodations. Amazingly, the finances accommodations of the location though providing only limited solutions and features are desired by a large number of vacationers, though even the luxurious accommodations enjoy good popularity, but within a niche group who prefer to vacation in complete luxurious. For the aid of vacationers to Mahabaleshwar this is an understanding into the various Mahabaleshwar accommodations.

The Best Hotels In The Middle East

Thanks to the recent oil boom, the Middle East is experiencing a stint of development and popularity that it has never witnessed before. When you consider the fact that business and tourism has climbed by more than 18% since 2005, attracting more than 41 million visitors annually, you have got to acknowledge that tourism is big business in the Middle East.

As a result, hotels in the Middle East are breathing a fresh breath of life. There is renewed interest in the palatial, decadent style of living where indulgence is the watchword. The palatial hotels that you find in many parts of the Middle East can literally take you back to the time of royalty and aristocrats. To facilitate this feeling, many sites have undertaken restoration of ancient structures and cave dwellings and liberally sprinkled their precincts with antiques.

Some of the top hotels in the Middle East make use of the region’s natural flora and fauna to being home the beauty of the desert. For instance, some of them are structured like a vast Bedouin camp that has been cunningly fitted with all the modern amenities like air conditioning. To top it all, new hotels are coming up at breakneck speed. This intense competitiveness is converting certain places into a hub of great hotels. Dubai is a great example.

Cities like Dubai have gone far ahead of many countries when it comes to innovation. With the successful construction of The Burj Al Arab, Dubai has set a new landmark for luxury hotels in the Middle East. The Burj is new and it might make your eyes pop but the general trend in the Middle East is to convert existing structures. The Emir Amin palace Hotel in Lebanon was the earliest harbinger of these kinds of luxury hotels � local monument combined with upscale hotel facilities.

Another wonderful example of the plush luxury that you can find in the hotels of the Middle East is the Ciragan Palace in Istanbul. This 282 room megalith was a real palace that was restored at a whopping cost of $105 million (this was in the early 1990’s). The view from the hotel rooms is stunning and the restoration work has been so brilliantly done that you could almost hear the guards at the palace gates!

If it’s authentic desert ambience that you want, Dubai offers you the Al Maha Desert Resort � a Bedouin tent where you can indulge in falconry and camel riding.

As you can see, tourism in the Middle East is just taking off. It’s interesting and wonderful to see that many of these places can boast of such splendor even in their infancy. Luxury hotels in the Middle East, and more particularly in Dubai, have come a long way from their ancient past. In the span of a mere 5-7 years, a good number of amazing hotels have been silently harboring a revolution of sorts in these mysterious, virgin lands.