Thanksgiving is generally a quiet time for luxury hotels as business travelers head home for the long weekend. However, many hotels have come up with a new service to keep their staff working – offering take-out Thanksgiving dinners with all the trimmings.
The Fairmont Washington D.C. is offering a turkey dinner for 10 with all the fixings for $275 – much cheaper than dining out, yet eaten in the comforts of your own home without the hassle in the kitchen. Locals can order the Turkey-to-Go package in advance, consisting of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and a choice of pie for dessert. Hungry customers then drive up to the hotel collection point and the steaming boxes are loaded into the car by hotel staff.
Other Fairmont hotels in major cities are offering similar deals while the Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner offers something a little different. Their Thanksgiving meal for six at $279 includes a roasted beet salad with goat’s cheese and candied pecans, butternut squash soup and a seasonable casserole of vegetables to accompany the traditional turkey.
Spokesperson Diane Bulger from the Fairmont Washington comments, “It’s a nice way for the people who live in the community to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving in their homes without the stress of preparing everything themselves.”
So if you haven’t pre-ordered your Thanksgiving turkey yet, maybe a luxury hotel in your local area has the perfect answer.
A landmark luxury hotel in Istanbul is re-opening on September 1st after a two-year renovation aimed at recapturing its glorious past.
The Pera Palace Hotel, founded in 1892, has a wealth of history inside its four walls. Mata Hari, who was accused of spying and executed in France in 1917, stayed there. So did Greta Garbo, who played the spy/dancer in a 1931 movie. Ernest Hemingway drank in the hotel’s Orient Bar in the early 1920s, and Agatha Christie is said to have crafted Murder on the Orient Express in Room 411.
The restoration of the luxury hotel has cost 23 million euros (£19 million/$30 million). The building is a mix of styles distinctive to 19th century Istanbul — neo-classical, art nouveau and oriental. Rooms have hand-woven carpets and antique furniture mixed with new. Sixteen are suites named after guests, including Britain’s King Edward VIII and the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz Joseph I.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a former army officer who founded modern Turkey in 1923, once used Room 101 as a base. This room will not, however, be open to guests; instead, it will house a museum of items belonging to Ataturk, including hats, slippers and gifts from dignitaries.
by Andy Moreton, with Associated Press
Where the Pera Palace led, others followed and there are now many fine luxury hotels in Istanbul. Check out Luxique’s hand-picked selection.
This year could see British travellers increasingly looking for holidays that allow them to give something back to their destinations.
That’s the prediction of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), which has coined two specific terms for such trips. One is ‘chadventures’, a combination of adventure and raising money for charity. The other is ‘voluntourism’, where travellers elect to do voluntary work overseas. The popularity of this has prompted some tour operators to join forces with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
In its annual survey, ABTA also sees a demand in 2010 for what it calls ‘X-factor destinations’ with something different to offer. Examples, it says, might be a trip to South Africa for the soccer World Cup or to the setting of the Twilight teen vampire saga – Forks in Washington State.
Demand should be good for Istanbul, next year’s European City of Culture, while ABTA said it also found a desire to visit areas emerging from troubled times, such as Sri Lanka or Iraq.
Egypt, Turkey and Morocco are also predicted to be strong destinations for 2010, as investment in luxury hotels and infrastructure - including more efficient airports and roads - look set to attract holidaymakers searching for high standards at lower costs.
by Andy Moreton