vacation and travel march 2012

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    Photos Courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Board

    March 2012


    Barcelona Is Rich in Culture and Fun American Airlines New Gateway to Tokyo Long Islander Turns Lost Luggage Into TV Show Travel Channel: Advice Before You Check-In



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    By Ronald Scaglia

    Hotel general managers may not appreciate it, but An-thony Melchiorri is going to let an industry secretslip for the benefit of Anton readers. He has someadvice on how to get the very best rate for a hotel room.If you want to get the best rate, make the reservation at 6

    p.m. on the same day if the city is not busy, said Melchiorri.Just as a container of milk or a carton of eggs has an expi-

    ration date, so do hotel rooms. Simply put, the further alongit is in the day, the less likely it is that a vacant hotel roomwill be booked and the more likely it is that the room will re-main empty and not generate any revenue.When it comes to knowing the inner working of hotels,

    Melchiorri is definitely a person to speak with as he has beenin the hospitality business for 20 years managing some ofthe most famous hotels. Currently he runs his own company,Argeo Hospitality, consulting on hotel projects for privateowners and investors and he will be hosting a new show onthe Travel Channel called Hotel Impossible, which premiereson Monday, April 9 at 10 p.m.In the new show, Melchiorri visits hotels that are strug-

    gling and examines what needs to be improved. Sometimeshis manner can be rough but he says he always maintains alevel of respect.Im a nice guy, said Melchiorri. Youll never see me

    take someones spirit or curse them out.However, what you will see is Melchiorri determining

    what is wrong and how management and staff can fix thoseissues. For the premiere of the show, Melchiorri stayed righthere on Long Island, going out to Gurneys Inn in Montauk.So what other advice does Melchiorri have for travelers?

    For those seeking the best rate, he suggests speaking with asupervisor when making the reservation. According to Mel-chiorri, by asking for a supervisor and then asking for thebest rate, the traveler is most likely to get those savings.Melchiorri says that another stress for travelers is chang-

    ing rooms because of an error in booking. Therefore he saysthat the front desk should confirm the room accommodationssuch as the size of the bed, the view and whether the room issmoking. If the front desk doesnt confirm the information,the guests should so they do not bring their luggage up totheir room only to bring it back down to the front desk.Melchiorri said this situation is also burdensome for hotel

    staff, as they have to once again prepare the first room. If thestaff fails to do so, when a later guest goes into that room itcreates another issue if the room does not look well prepared.Another mistake that hotels make is not maintaining confi-

    dentiality. Melchiorri said that the front desk representativeshould point to a hotel room number and the rate but not speakit loudly so that others might hear as he said this creates two is-

    sues. First, guests may not want the others in the area to knowwhich room they will be in and, secondly, if a guest is getting abetter rate than another guest it could create some friction.Melchiorri also said that guests and hotel staff should be

    diligent about the quality of service offered. Dont acceptbad service because youre paying a lower rate, said Mel-chiorri. If youre in a three star or five star hotel, the onlythings that should separate them are amenities, size of roomand maybe location. Not service and not people.One more suggestion that Melchiorri offers to both travelers

    and hotel managers is to check the reviews that are posted on-line about hotels. While some may think that the reviews mayjust be the reaction of someone who had a bad experience, Mel-chiorri finds that the reviews posted online tend to be accurate.If the majority are good or bad, listen to the reviews, he

    said. I use them when I travel.Melchiorri also said that general managers should be ex-

    tremely diligent about reviews posted online. Not only dobad reviews turn away business, they also indicate whatproblems need to be fixed in a hotel.If a general manager doesnt have the reviews popping on

    his Blackberry every time one is written, that general managerprobably shouldnt be employed as a general manager, he said.And then the hotel might have to call in Melchiorri to fix

    those issues on his new show.

    Escape the WinterBlahs Without

    LeavingNassau CountyAround this time of year, cabin fever be-comes rampant. Even though this winterhas been relatively mild, Long Islandershave had enough of the lack of light and thelong hours spent at home, and theyre lookingto escape from the mundane.Fortunately, they dont have far to go to get

    away from it all. Right in Westbury, the VianaHotel and Spa offers a decadent, romantic get-away that will chase the winter blahs from themoment of arrival. A member of the exclusiveSmall Luxury Hotels of the World, the propertyoffers an enticing staycation package that in-cludes lodging, a prix-fixe dinner, full breakfastbuffet and massages for two.Built a year ago, the Viana was designed based

    on the principles of feng shui. From the plushbedding and robes in the guest rooms to the Zen-inspired, full-service spa, the propertys blend ofluxury, natural dcor and balanced elements en-velop guests in tranquil rest and relaxation.With the staycation package, guests are pre-

    sented with a complimentary bottle of housewine in their choice of red or white upon ar-rival. Couples can reconnect over dinner at thehotels upscale restaurant, Marco Polo, whereEast meets West in an inventive confluence ofItalian, Asian and fusion dishes offering a fullmenu of specialty cocktails and organic wines.Our adult-only game room allows you to re-connect with friends offering a pool table or agame of chess to play at your leisure.Included in the package is a 50-minute couples

    massage, which is sure to rejuvenate the body andspirit. Guests can also take a dip in the pool orwork out in the state-of-the-art fitness center.Like all good things, the staycation must

    come to an end, but guests are guaranteed toleave in a state of mind that is vastly differentfrom the one in which they arrived.The staycation package starts at $499 per

    couple per night. Standard rates at the hotelstart at $200 per night.

    By Ronald Scaglia

    Avisit to Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard is the per-fect one-day getaway for those looking to enjoy aquick day trip on Long Island. The vineyard, lo-cated in Baiting Hollow and the first vineyard on theNorth Fork Wine Trail, has the distinction of also being ahorse rescue farm, which is home to 24 horses including21 that were rescued from the slaughterhouse.Were all huge animal lovers in our family, said Sharon

    Rubin Levine, one of the owners and a member of the fam-ily which operates the Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard.Founder Sam Rubin bought land in Suffolk in the

    1980s to produce organic food for his family. He soonwas growing grapes and the natural progression was toproduce wine and its popularity took off.We decided to make some wine and people really

    liked it so we made more wine, said Rubin Levine.With the wine business growing, the family decided that