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5 Hotels for Celebrity Sightings In 2023

Whether you’re traveling with your partner, or friends or opting for a solo getaway, there is nothing better than finding your home away from home. A trip to a luxury hotel is the perfect place to relax and enjoy your holiday. It is also a good spot to encounter celebrities during your stay, which is always an added bonus! Here are some of the hotels where you can expect to see some of Hollywood’s finest.

1. Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles, California

Located at 8221 Sunset Boulevard, the Chateau Marmont hotel features luxury bungalows and suites that are reminiscent of old Hollywood. A-Listers are no strangers to this hotel with stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Mick Jagger, and Courtney Love, to the one and only Marilyn Monroe being previous (and current) guests. This Hollywood Hotspot has banned paparazzi, which is making it the perfect place for celebrities to wind down without the flashing lights.

2. Brown’s Hotel, London, England

‌If you want to experience one of the oldest hotels in London, Brown’s Hotel is the place to be. This exclusive oasis situated in the middle of London continuously ranks on both Travel+Leisure and Conde Nast’s list of the world’s best hotels. The hotel features original wood paneling, mosaic floors, chandeliers and even antique furnishings across 117 rooms. The hotel opened in 1837 and has hosted many exclusive guests such as Theodore Roosevelt, Napoleon III, Agatha Christie and even Stephen King.

3. Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah

Amangiri is a luxurious hotel situated in the middle of the Four Corners region desert- where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet. This hotel is perfect for those who want a remote, quiet, and naturally luxurious hotel experience, hence why so many celebrities visit here.

The hotel is hidden away in a protected valley with panoramic views of the sand-colored landscapes, and near attractions such as the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Hailey and Justin Bieber have stayed at this hotel along with the Kardashian family.

4. Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris, France

Built-in 1889, the Plaza Athénée Paris has seen more than its fair share of celebrity guests over the years including Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, Josephine Baker, Gary Cooper, Maurice Chevalier, Rudolph Valentino, and even Mata Hari. This hotel is one of Paris’ finest with a 5* rating and its iconic 1,900 red geraniums which adorn the hotel’s exterior.

Hôtel Plaza Athénée can be found right at the center of one of the most sophisticated cities in the world, with views of the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Elysées. The famous singer Mariah Carey even tied the knot at this luxurious Parisian monument.

5. Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St. Moritz, Switzerland

Badrutt’s Palace Hotel is marked by its rich heritage. The hotel opened in 1896 and has 155 rooms, 43 of which are suites. This luxury ski hotel was the first palace hotel to be built in the world.

Today, it houses distinctive architecture and has everything celebrities could need for the perfect getaway, including an extensive spa, heated swimming pools and even a private skating rink. Since its opening, Badrutt’s Palace Hotel has served as an alpine resort for many celebrities including Alfred Hitchcock, Audrey Hepburn and the late Charlie Chaplin.

Living a life of glamour can include many activities such as visiting spas, shopping at designer stores, experiencing casino glamour online with the Merkur Games at Platincasino Ireland, sailing the sea on yachts, and of course, staying in five-star hotels. Be sure to keep an eye on these hotspots for your next trip.

There are many hotels around the world, however, these hotspots guarantee luxury and maybe even a celebrity sighting or two! You never know who you might meet!

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Here are the best travel tips from an airline pilot

Find out how to make your bag stand out, which seats are best for people prone to nausea and other helpful tips to make your travel experience as smooth as possible.

The holidays are a time for friends, family…and travel headaches.

To make your travels easier during the holidays and any time of year, here are some tips from an insider – former commercial airline pilot and aerospace expert Kathleen Bangs from FlightAware:

Planning your flight

  • Take an early flight and fly nonstop – Early flights have the least chance of a cancelation, Bangs said. Also, fly nonstop, if possible. It may cost more, but according to Bangs, the higher fares are worth the convenience and peace of mind the nonstop flights offer. For example, flying nonstop keeps you from potentially being trapped at a connecting flight.
  • Choose your seat wisely – If you’re prone to nausea, Bangs recommends picking a seat either over the wing or close to the cockpit as these areas are the most stable parts of the plane. People prone to nausea should avoid seats in the back of the plane, as that section swings around the most.
  • Self-serve as much as possible – Use airline apps to stay informed of any alerts and to make any necessary changes to your flight, Bangs said. She also highly recommends using FlightAware to learn of any cancelations or delays and checking the Department of Transportation’s airline consumer dashboard to learn about airlines’ policies regarding refund policies.
  • Know the weather – At least three days before your flight, Bangs recommends checking the weather not just at your destination, but also across the country. Weather events can have a ripple effect on your airline regionally or nationwide, leading to delays and cancelations.

Packing for your flight

  • Take the largest carry-on possible – Bangs uses two roller bags as carry-ons – one is the largest size permitted on the plane and goes in the overhead compartment, and the other bag fits under her seat. She recommends bringing important items, such as computers, chargers and jewelry, in those carry-ons.
  • Include identification in your checked bag – About one percent of all bags get lost during flights. So in her checked bag, Bangs includes a piece of paper that has her name, email address and phone number on it. Should the bag tag be torn off, the information on that piece of paper can help return the bag to its owner.
  • Make your luggage stand out – Ordinary-looking luggage, such as black bags, can make identifying a lost bag in a mountain of bags challenging. Bangs recommends using luggage that stands out or, if you have a black bag, put some bright stickers on it.

Ensuring a good flight experience

  • Bring a mask with you – Bangs recommends wearing a mask on your flight or bringing a mask along just in case, as viruses can circulate in the air. She also noted how passengers may become sick and vomit during a flight, so having a mask handy can help provide some protection.
  • Charge your phone at the gate – While waiting for your flight, take that time to charge up your devices. Bangs said that outlets and USB ports on planes sometimes don’t work, and when they do, accessing them may be tricky given the tight spaces in the cabin and around the seats.
  • Wear layers – Wearing layers of clothes can provide comfort and flexibility as the temperatures change. Bangs noted how during the colder season, the temperature on planes can be very warm. Dressing in layers will allow you to stay cool, while having layers to keep you warm when you exit the plane.

Being safe on the flight

  • Bring your own medical kit – Bangs said she always brings a medical kit.  Her kit is the size of a makeup case, and she keeps it in her carry-on, containing anything she might need on her trip, such as prescriptions, aspirin, antibiotics and a thermometer.
  • Count the seat backs to your nearest exit – Safety briefings always note the exits on the plane in case of an emergency. Bangs recommends counting the number of seat backs to the exit closest to you – as the aisle may become congested with passengers, the only other option to leave the plane will be to climb or “swim” over the seats you counted to the exit.
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Insider tips before your trip to Crete

Crete is easy. There’s little you need to do to prepare for your trip to this glorious Greek island beyond making a few advance bookings. Packing is simple – and if you forget something, you can buy it there.

The island is safe. The local economy counts on tourists, and the Cretans – like most Greeks – are friendly and welcoming. In any business where tourists turn up (which even includes tiny family-run eateries high in the hills), someone will speak English. A little common sense and politeness will go a long way as you navigate the etiquette of the place.

Here’s all you need to know before you take your trip to Crete. (Lucky you.)

Reserve your rooms and rental cars (well) in advance

As travelers continue to make up for missed trips during the pandemic, Crete is a favorite destination. From April to October, the best places to stay at all price levels book up early. Don’t wait, expecting prices to fall. They won’t.

This is even more true for rental cars, thanks to the global car shortage. If you’re driving the entire time you’re on the island, shop around and reserve the best deal you can find. One exception: if you’ll just be hiring a car for the occasional day trip, you can wait until you’re on the island and then arrange for a day rental with a local outfit. (Keep in mind that this may be a friend of the hotel owner with a fleet of three Fiats.)

Know your season – and layer up

Images of sun-drenched beaches and balmy nights in cafes underpin Cretan tourism cliches. But outside of summer, it’s not always warm. Winter can be blustery, chilly and wet. Nights outside of July and August can be brisk. Bring layers.

Bring some cash

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted for purchases large and small, and ATMs are common on Crete. But you might encounter offline machines or cash-only vendors, so we recommend carrying about €200 in cash in various smaller-euro denominations. Don’t be that person who hands the elderly ex-fisherman running the beach ferry a €50 note for a €5 fare.

Fill your phone with maps before you take the wheel

Many mapping apps allow you to download data in advance that you can then use for navigation when your phone is offline. This can be a lifeline when you’re at the junction of two unmarked roads deep in the mountains and you don’t know which way to turn.

Cover up in churches

Letting it (almost) all hang out is fine on many beaches (there are a few completely nude ones on the island) but when you’re stopping into Crete’s many historic, incense-filled churches, show some respect. Cover your shoulders, have shorts or a skirt that goes below the knees, and don’t enter barefoot.

Stay coolly stylish at night

Balmy nights call for airy, floaty duds – yet don’t expect to get into that cool cafe, top restaurant or heaving club with a singlet and short shorts. Longer shorts and dresses are good almost anywhere at night; a crisp designer T-shirt or something with a collar will work for men.

Cretans rarely go naked or topless on the beach

Island residents fully expect the clothes to fall away from their beach-loving visitors. Yet you should still exercise some discretion. Near town centers and along beach promenades, polite exposure maintains a shred of modesty. Elsewhere, women often go topless and designated nude areas abound. When in doubt, check out the prevailing fashion around you (or lack thereof).

Expect long and languid dinners

Crete has some of the best food in Mediterranean Europe. Meals are an event – and can extend over two or more very enjoyable hours. Friends share dishes large and small, which are served to the entire table, family style. On a busy summer evening, restaurants can get slammed and courses may meander out of the kitchen only after long gaps. Trying to hurry things along is bad form and the antithesis of a lovely, relaxed night out.

In contrast, lunch can be enjoyed fairly quickly at a cafe or savored for much longer, especially at a seaside taverna, where a shady table and fresh seafood meal is the ideal antidote to the scorchingly hot midday sun.

Be sure to tip – but don’t overtip

As an island with a huge tourism industry, Crete has more of a tipping culture than more un-touristed parts of Greece. In restaurants and cafes, 5% is a good median amount, with 10% very generous. Locals will round up to an even number in a restaurant (eg leave €35 for a tab of €33) or leave small change in a cafe.

Leaving some euros for your room cleaner is always appreciated. If someone helps you with your bags, €1 to €3 per bag is appropriate – unless it’s a taxi driver, in which case the bag handling fee is added to the fare. You only need to tip a taxi driver a couple of euros at most.

Pay the asked price

Outside of open-air markets, bargaining over prices is not the norm in Crete. Expect to pay the marked price in shops and galleries.

Feel free to drink the water

Tap water in Crete is safe to drink. Remember to refill your water bottles whenever you can, as it gets very hot in summer. You’ll need plenty of hydration for the beach, hiking trails, bus and car rides, and more.

Don’t stress about crime

Crete is a safe place to travel and you shouldn’t lose sleep over the risk of crime. As anywhere, though, common sense should always prevail: lock your doors, don’t leave valuables in the rental car and never leave your phone or other treasures unattended on the beach or at the cafe.

Frustrate the mosquitos

Mosquitos buzz about ceaselessly at dusk. If you like anti-bug sprays or balms, bring them with you – repellants can be surprisingly tough to find on Crete. Mosquito coils are widely available, as well as electric gizmos that plug into the wall of hotel rooms. But the efficacy of these methods is variable at best.

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7 Need-to-Know Tips for Driving in France this Summer

Whether you’re travelling by ferry from the UK, hiring a rental car, or setting out on a European road trip, here are some of our favourite tips and hacks to help you dodge traffic, find the cheapest fuel prices, and swot up on France’s road rules.

1. Check Your Driving Licence

It goes without saying that you’ll need a valid driving licence in order to drive in France, but do you need to apply for an international driving licence? If your licence was issued in an EU or EEA country or in the UK, then you don’t need an International Driving Permit to drive in France. If your licence was issued outside of the EU (aside from the UK) and is in a language other than French, then you will need either an International Driving Permit or a certified French translation of your driving licence. We recommend the former, which is typically easy to obtain from your country of residence.

2. Avoid Heavy Traffic

The summer holidays always see a boost in traffic on the roads, especially over bank holiday weekends, and with France expecting record numbers of tourists this year, popular routes and motorways are likely to get very busy. The best way to keep ahead of the traffic and avoid the busiest periods is to keep an eye on the Bison Futé website, which has colour-coded calendars, up-to-date traffic information, and an interactive route planner to help motorists avoid congested routes and heavy traffic days. The summer calendar already shows numerous ‘red’ days (when travel will be ‘very difficult’) and five ‘black’ days (when traffic will be at its worst) throughout July and August, so try to avoid travelling on these days unless absolutely necessary.

3. Find the Cheapest Fuel Prices

Fuel prices have been soaring in France this year, as in most countries around the world, but motorists can still benefit from the government’s 18-centime-per-litre rebate, keeping petrol and diesel prices at a current average of € 2.02 and € 1.99, respectively. These discounts apply at all petrol stations and for all motorists (although they will be phased out by the end of the year), and they are included in the display prices that you’ll see at fuel stations. More than ever, securing the best fuel price is essential, so use the government’s price comparator here to compare prices and find the cheapest place to fill up on route.

4. Order Your Crit ‘Air Sticker

If you’re planning to drive in cities such as Paris, Lyon, and Marseille, where low emission zones are in place, you must by law display a Crit’Air sticker on your vehicle, a colour-coded vignette that classifies vehicles based on their air-polluting emissions. Driving and parking restrictions are in place for high-polluting vehicles in these zones, and fines are issued to vehicles not displaying a sticker. You can order one online for less than €5, so it’s best to order one prior to travel.

5. Ensure Your Car Meets Post-Brexit Standards

If you are bringing your car over from the UK, there are a few changes to the rules post-Brexit to ensure your car meets European standards. You’ll need to make sure your car insurance offers sufficient coverage, attach a ‘UK’ sticker to your car, and ensure you don’t drive your car in France for longer than the maximum period.

6. Book Your Rental Car Early

Car rental companies across Europe have issued warnings of car shortages – a direct result of the pandemic, during which many companies reduced their fleets and sold off vehicles to boost their flagging businesses. Now, with tourism soaring, the high demand has seen a steep rise in rental car prices and widespread shortages. Our advice? Bring your own car if you have the option or book your rental car as soon as possible and be sure to re-confirm your booking prior to travel.

7. Brush Up On French Road Rules

For most anglophones, the biggest change when driving in France will be remembering to drive on the right, but there are a number of other things you should be aware of. France’s ‘Priorité à Droite’ catches out a lot of foreign drivers, so be sure you understand when this applies. The legal alcohol limit in France is just 0.05% – lower than that of the UK and US – and it’s also illegal to use any kind of headphones or headset whilst driving or to use any kind of radar device to warn of upcoming speed cameras.

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