Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Can You Really Get to Graton Resort & Casino in 43 Minutes? I Think Not, I Cry Foul – Also, Bad Reviews on Yelp

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

This big sign is at the corner of Fell and Divisadero. It promises a quick 43 minute trip up to Rohnert Park from the “Bay.”

See?

Click to expand

And yet, Google Maps has the journey at one hour.

Even if you choose the Golden Gate Bridge as your starting point, the trip will take more than 43 minutes.

(Perhaps the Graton people think you own a Suzuki Hayabusa or Honda CBR1100XX Super Blackbird or something.)

To add injury to insult, the place sucks, apparently.

“Every bit as bad as the previous reviews, maybe even worse.  Place already stinks of smoke, no comps, mediocre food and watered down drinks way overpriced to go with crappy service, ridiculous “dress code”, rude and patronizing “security”, tightest slots / worst blackjack odds anywhere in N. Cal.  I wouldn’t go back to this place if you paid me.

Oh, Graton Resort & Casino, will you ever win?

OMG, Airbnb is Having a Sale – Airbnb Virgins Can Now Get One Night Free

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Or in other words:

“Book your first trip between January 13 – 17 for travel by March 31, and one night of your stay of at least two nights is on us (value up to $300).”

All the deets:

“Airbnb offers one night’s stay to all qualifying guests worldwide

Declares 2014 the “Year of the Yurt” and shares top trending destinations

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Airbnb, the world’s leading community-driven hospitality company, today introduced a new offer to cover one night of travel for qualifying guests (details available at www.airbnb.com/onenight). First-time Airbnb guests who book a trip between January 13-17 for travel by March 31, for stays of at least two days, will receive a one night discount (up to $300) on their trip. With the start of the new year, Airbnb also shared the top trending destinations for 2014 – with Andorra grabbing the top spot.

“Every year people resolve to travel more, this year Airbnb wants to make that dream a reality for people all over the world,” said Amy Curtis McIntyre, CMO, Airbnb. “In 2014 we’d like to help travelers everywhere embrace the adventure and stay at one of Airbnb’s 500,000 properties worldwide.”

Airbnb is home to some of the most diverse properties on the planet and 2014 is clearly the “Year of the Yurt.” Yurts are the most popular type of property on the site followed by Treehouses, Caves, Cabins, and Boats. Yurts should watch out for Tipis as they have seen the highest year over year growth in popularity.

Over 10 million guests have stayed on Airbnb throughout its five-year history. The peak night was on New Year’s Eve 2013 with over 250,000 guests; globally a guest on Airbnb checks in every 2 seconds.

Terms & Conditions:
The discount is valid only for guests who have never completed a booking on Airbnb. To receive the discount, you must book via the Airbnb website with promo code ONENIGHT and successfully complete Airbnb’s Verified ID process prior to booking. You must complete a booking (including host acceptance) using the code between 12:00am PST (California time) on January 13 and 11:59pm PST (California time) on January 17. The discount applies to one night of your stay up to a maximum of USD$300. The cost of “one night” is calculated by averaging the base reservation rate for each night, excluding taxes or other fees charged by your host, such as cleaning fees. Your stay must be at least two nights in length at the same listing, and must begin no later than 11:59pm PST (California time) on March 31, 2014. Limit one discount per new user. The offer is valid for a single use and is not transferrable to another user or redeemable for cash. If your booking later qualifies for a refund, the maximum refund you may receive is the amount you actually paid. The code cannot be used for bookings made through Airbnb’s mobile apps. The code may not be combined with another Airbnb coupon or discount code. Host payouts will not be affected by permissible guest use of the code. Airbnb reserves the right to any remedy, including denial of the discount or cancellation of your account or reservations, if fraud, tampering, violations of Airbnb’s Terms of Service or technical errors are suspected.

About Airbnb: Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 35,000 cities and 192 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.

SOURCE Airbnb”

If Snooki and JWOW ever Visited Union Square, It Would Look a Little Something Like This

Monday, May 14th, 2012

See?

Ah yes, the intersection of Geary and Mason, where unsuspecting tourists occasionally get shot and killed:

Click to expand

 

808 State: Presenting the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, the “Pink Palace” What Used to be the Tallest Hotel in Waikiki

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

I don’t know what it costs to stay here, maybe $500 per night? But no matter, you can always just pass through the lobby to check it out the next time you visit the 808 State.

See? It looks different, huh? 

Click to expand (Taken with my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM zoom lens at 400mm before the time it suffered a barrel-bending calamity on Market Street. RIP 1-4.)

So, it’s less pink than before, but still pretty pink. Here’s your view from the tower you can see on the right.

Oh, and then continue your tour by getting some umbrella drinks at the Halekulani Hotel‘s House Without a Key.

Then you’ll truly be kicking it old-school, Hawaiian-style.

808 State: Hawaii’s Kaena Point is Where the North Shore Ends – Circumnavigating Oahu is Only Possible on Foot

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Well here you go, you’ve already passed through the famous parts of the North Shore of Oahu, but you keep heading west until the semi-paved road turns to this, in Kaena Point State Park:

Click to expand

Here’s the birds-eye view, with the North Shore on the left side of the photo.

Alls that’s left to do is to hop out of your rental and then walk a few miles to go ’round the point by foot, why not?

After all, “Kaʻena Point is the “jumping-off” point for souls leaving this world.”

Put this one on your bucket list:

Kaʻena or Kaena Point is the westernmost tip of land on the island of Oʻahu. The point can be reached by foot from both the West (Waiʻanae Coast) and the East (Mokulēʻia) coastlines; walking in from the north side is recommended. An unimproved track extends some 3 miles (4.8 km) along the coast from the end of the paved road on the north side, where a gate prevents entry of all except authorized vehicles.

On the south side, at Kaʻena State Park, a paved road passes a beach before terminating into an unpaved road. It continues for a few miles, after which the road is washed out, and further travel must be on foot. It is not possible to travel around the point in a vehicle as the route is better described as a “path” in most places, and is lined on one side with a cliff and on the other with basalt rocks which are quite capable of damaging vehicles. The path is completely washed out in one place on the South side of the point and a rope helps hikers traverse the gap.

Aloha!

808 State: Oahu’s “Hitachi Tree” Certainly is Worth a Look the Next Time You Visit Hawaii

Monday, February 13th, 2012

This monkeypod in Honolulu’s five-star Yelp-rated Moanalua Gardens is quite an “exceptional tree,” don’t you think?

As it looked when I was there, on a slow day:

Click to expand

Check it out, next time you visit The Islands:

“The Hitachi tree, a large monkeypod tree with a distinctive umbrella-shaped canopy, grows in the middle of a grassy area in the middle of the park. The tree is registered as an exceptional tree by the City and County of Honolulu and cannot be removed or destroyed without city council approval.Japanese electronics manufacturer Hitachi, Ltd. has used the tree as a corporate symbol since 1973. An agreement between the Damon Estate and Hitachi gave Hitachi exclusive worldwide rights to use the tree’s image for promotional purposes in exchange for annual payments of US$20,000.”

Official CA Bed & Breakfast Myth Debunking Makes Me Want to Never Ever Visit a B&B

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Now I know what the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) is trying to do here today, but, man, I don’t know, some of the myths listed below are news to me. So the net effect  is that I’m less likely to ever set foot in a B&B.

Think I’d rather sleep in my aging Land Cruiser (diagonally, as it’s shorter than some Camry Solara  two-doors) after flopping the rear seats and popping the minivan-style rear side windows than deal with any of the B&Bs that got these myths going.

(Also, I’d like to note that not having a shared bathroom, in and of itself, does not “ensure” your safety.)

OTOH, put a kayak-in B&B on Red Rock Island, San Francisco’s northernmost piece of real estate, and I’d be up for an overnight. Red Rock is on the left and Danielle Steel’s least favoritest Bed and Breakfast is on the right behind the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, on noisy East Brother Island in neighboring CoCo County.

(San Francisco County extends to places it really shouldn’t, don’t you know.)

Anyway, have at it.

Debunking the Top Five Myths of Bed & Breakfasts: California’s B&B Association Sets the Record Straight

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 12 — The California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) recently asked travelers if they’ve ever stayed at a bed and breakfast, and if not, why? The answers made us smile. Below is a list of the top five misconceptions we heard.  For more debunked myths about B&Bs, visit: http://www.cabbi.com/res/docs/BB_Myths_PressRelease_April2010.pdf

1) B&B decor is limited to lace doilies, paisley wallpaper, antiques, and patchwork quilts

The decor of some CABBI-member inns recall earlier eras, but increasingly more inns, such as San Francisco’s Laurel Inn in or San Diego’s Hotel Parisi are trending toward clean, sophisticated decor with modern furnishings and amenities. Even many Victorians, like the Honor Mansion in Healdsburg, feature individually decorated rooms to appeal to a variety of tastes.

2) You have to share a bathroom with other guests

The majority of CABBI-member inns offer private bathrooms. For those that don’t, most–like the Hotel Charlotte near Yosemite National Park–have policies of only renting rooms with shared bathrooms to families and couples traveling together to ensure the safety and comfort of guests.

3) You have to eat breakfast with total strangers and eat whatever the innkeeper prepares that morning

The Elk Cove Inn & Spa in Elk offers guests many choices for breakfast.  Guests can choose to sit at the large table if they wish to socialize, or dine at a more intimate, two-person table. The inn’s champagne brunch features 20-30 items, allowing guests to select what they want to eat.  Many inns also pride themselves on accommodating guests with special diets or food allergies.

4) You have to abide by a curfew set by the innkeeper

Curfews are one of the most common myths. At the McCaffrey House Bed & Breakfast in Twain Harte, guests have keys to the main house and guest room doors, providing guests with the flexibility to come and go as they please.

5) B&Bs are only for couples and strictly prohibit children and pets

CABBI has over 180 family-friendly inns and more than 70 pet-friendly inns in California. The Dolphin Inn in Carmel offers a family unit with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a heated swimming pool, and breakfast delivered to your door. The Beazley House Bed & Breakfast Inn in Napa offers 11 pet-friendly rooms. Four-legged guests receive a water bowl, a treat bag, and a list of dog-friendly wineries and restaurants. To search for more family-friendly or pet-friendly inns, visit http://www.cabbi.com/search/advanced/.

Established in 1991, The California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) is the largest tourism organization of its kind in California. We are a non-profit, statewide organization that is wholly dedicated to ensuring the highest quality standards in bed and breakfast accommodations. Currently, CABBI has nearly 300 members. Source: The California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns

FlavorPill.com Needs an American Editor in Australia – A $400 per Week Working Holiday

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Let’s review here - Tourism Queenland’s recent Best Job in the World promotion had some bloke getting paid $100k to be a caretaker on an Australian island. The whole thing was quite popular worldwide and some people figure that it got the Australian tourism industry eight figures worth of free advertising all told. (Or course, if you wanted to be considered seriously, it really helped to be young and cute, just like in the real world.)

All right. Today, comes now FlavorPill.com to offer you another job down under. They want you to apply by February 15th, 2010 to be their new part-time online editor in Melbourne (it’s near Cindy, I think) starting September 1, 2010. They’ll pick up your airfare and they’ll put you up for 12 days but it’ll be up to you to live on $400 a week for a year or whatever.

And, oh yes, you’ll need to qualify for a Working Holidays in Australia visa and that means you’ll need to be between 18 and 30 years old. So you have to be kind of young, but nobody will care what you look like. Bonus.

Just think, this could be you with a cute attentive beach kangaroo:

And this is how you’ll look surfing down under with your cute, attentive boyfriend:

This is something betwixt the best and worst jobs in the world. Keep that in mind as before you become one of the world’s highest-paid part-time bloggers (as you struggle to afford a daily cup of coffee.)

Its you:

Come Out and Live, Play and Work in Australia as the New Flavorpill Melbourne Editor! Flavorpill Announces Job Opportunity for a Young American; Visa Program and Travel Deals Available for Others Wanting to Work and Play in Australia

Los Angeles, CA – (February 9, 2010)  Thanks to a visa program and some great travel deals available on Australia.com/workandplay, Flavorpill, an online source for culture, events and current news in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and London, is getting ready to launch Flavorpill Melbourne! There’s just one thing missing: an editor.

Americans ages 18-30 can apply for the Managing Editor position at http://flavorpill.com/australia/submit.html. Just tell why you deserve the position and what experience you have with writing, editing and social media. The deadline for entries is February 15, 2010.

“The ability to go to Australia for up to 12 months, get a job and experience our unique and diverse adventures through the Work and Holiday Visa program makes the opportunity with Flavorpill’s new Melbourne newsletter a dream job. This is a great way to add to one’s resume by joining the locals and getting off the beaten path,” said Tourism Australia Vice President Americas Daryl Hudson.

More deets, after the jump.

(more…)

Cruise with Gorby and Condi: Sail the Black Sea with Gorbachev and Condoleezza Rice, $24K

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

How would you like to spend a couple of weeks on and around the Black Sea with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of Defense William Perry, and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev?

Well, you’re in luck, ’cause San Francisco-based World Leaders Travel on 500 Third Street is asking just $23,990 per person (double occupancy) to attend Global Challenges in a Post-Perestroika World: A World Leaders Symposium in Russia and the Black Sea this summer, August 30  through September 15th 2010.

No, Silly Billy, you won’t sail on the Chevron Condoleezza Rice - they renamed that vessel years ago.

You’ll be on the Silver Wind, whatever that is.

(America, what a country. In your country you have movie I Know What You Did Last Summer. In Soviet Union, KGB knows what you did last summer! In America, you sail boat. In Soviet Union, boat sail you!)

They’re calling it “educational travel” so maybe it’s deductible or something…

Bon voyage!

All the deets, after the jump

(more…)

Quentin Kopp’s Beale Street Alternative for High Speed Rail Attacked by SoMA Residents

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Via Jamie Whitaker’s Rincon Hill blog comes news of a fight against consideration of the so-called “Beale Street Alternative“ for the San Francsico terminus of California’s nascent High Speed Rail line.

I don’t have a dog in this hunt, but you, well take a gander if you’d like:

Save High Speed Rail in San Francisco

Targeting: Supervisor Chris Daly (District 6, City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisor), Medhi Morshed (Executive Director, CA High Speed Rail Authority) and Curt Pringle (Chair of the Board, CA High Speed Rail Authority)

Started by: April Veneracion

Demand the California High Speed Rail Authority stop its consideration of the infeasible Beale Street Alternative that is…

· Risking over $400 million in federal funding to the Transbay Transit Center

· Harming property values in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco

· Wasting millions of Prop 1A dollars on study of infeasible alternatives that should be spent on construction”

So that’s the issue. All the deets, below.

Quentin Kopp with youthful HSR supporters at San Francisco City Hall during happier times last year:

The whole magilla:

“As a strong supporter of building High Speed Rail throughout the state and into San Francisco’s downtown Transbay Transit Center, I am appalled at your consideration of the Beale Street Alternative. This study is not only wasteful, it risks over $400 million in federal funding for the Transbay Transit Center and is harming property values in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco.

Your study of the Beale Street Alternative was proposed to you by a lobbying and law firm on behalf of an unidentified special interest. This location has already been rejected as a technically and economically infeasible terminus for High Speed Rail in San Francisco. San Franciscans overwhelmingly voted for Proposition 1A to bring high speed rail to our Transit Center. Your study of the Beale Street Alternative, widely thought to be pushed by Board Member Quentin Kopp, is a wasteful expenditure of limited Proposition 1A money that should be applied to construction of the project.

With the passage of Proposition 1A, we believe that your study of the Beale Street Alternative is illegal. The voter approved mandate codifies in State law that the northern terminus for high speed rail will be the Transbay Transit Center.

The Transbay Transit Center is a federally approved project currently in construction in downtown San Francisco that has received the support of the San Francisco electorate on multiple occasions. Over $2 billion in funds have already been secured, independent of Proposition 1A. This Center is designed to accommodate high speed rail to downtown San Francisco.

The existence of this project is reason enough to drop your study of the Beale Street Alternative. Additionally, the Beale Street Alternative would likely result in the taking of more than 1,800 current and future residential units in the South of Market area. Your study alone has made many of our homes unmarketable by the required disclosure of your irresponsible study into any potential home sale. In contrast, the approved downtown extension to Transbay will take only 2 dozen residences. Given San Francisco’s housing crisis, this is a far more reasonable approach.

Meanwhile, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority has applied for $400 million in ARRA funds to build the rail box in the Transit Center. While this application has the support of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, we understand that the Federal Rail Authority has expressed concern about your Beale Street Alternative. We are worried that the Beale Street Alternative is not about adequately addressing environmental issues, it’s about political brinkmanship.

It’s time to put high speed rail to San Francisco back on track.

As a supporter of high speed rail and Proposition 1A, I demand you halt your irresponsible study of the infeasible Beale Street Alternatives. I also ask that you hold a formal meeting of the California High Speed Rail Authority in San Francisco, to hold yourselves accountable to the people whose properties and projects you are jeopardizing.”

To Be Continued…