As seen in the movies…hotels from the silver screen

October 13, 2011

YOU’VE seen them immortalised on film, now it’s your chance to live like a star.

Park Hyatt Tokyo's lobby was used in the movie Lost in Translation

True cinefiles are spoilt for choice when it comes to hotels where movies were shot, often the hotel is as much part of the story as its human characters. writer Elena Kozmenko lists her top 10 hotels, that have played host to camera crews and celebrities alike:

Remember Oscar-winning movie Lost in Translation?

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Death of a princess – the hotel linked to the tragedy

October 6, 2011

IT was an event that rocked the world.

One of the last official photographs of Diana

On August 30 and 31, 1997, a visit by Diana – Princess of Wales, to the Ritz Hotel in Paris was to prove a factor in events leading to the horrific car crash in the Pont de l’Alma underpass near the Eiffel Tower that resulted in her death.

Olga Leleka looks at her death and the hotel where the tragic chain of events began.

The evening began normally enough, a 36-year-old woman on a dinner date at Paris’ Ritz Hotel.

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Packing…for men

October 5, 2011

YOUR boys’ weekend begins in two hours.

You and your friends have booked the ultimate golf trip to Miami – planned out with perfection.

You identified the best the airlines and you booked.

Your departure to the terminal is covered – you’ll take a taxi.

You went shopping for new clothes on Tuesday and were lucky enough to get some good discounts and buy yourself a change of wardrobe.

However, that new wardrobe is yet to be packed in your  bag and your ride to the airport is on its way.

You have less than 45 minutes to pack – you better move fast.

First off, you’re a man and you travel light. You don’t need that huge suitcase for a vacation.

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A hotel with a twist – the Japanese ryokan

October 4, 2011

TIRED of faceless hotels without any special features? Want to experience distinctive hospitality,  you will never forget? writer Svetlana Malukha investigates ryokan – a Japanese hotel, where you are unlikely to see familiar beds, where you wear a special kimono – yukata, which symbolizes tranquility and peace, and taste food cooked on hot stones.

The tranquil surroundings of a Japanese ryokan.

The first ryokans appeared in 1603 and since the concept has been greatly modified, yet one thing remains stable – a strong feeling of genuine Japanese hospitality, sensed as soon as you reach the doorstep.

But don’t expect to just casually walk through the door.

Once you are in a ryokan, you need to be aware of the etiquette you are expected to comply with.


Read the rest of this entry » making headlines

September 30, 2011

WEBSITE is in the news, quoted in this story from Interfax-Ukraine released on global newswires two days ago.

Popov: Euro 2012 guests to book hotel rooms online

2 days ago at 11:19 | Interfax-Ukraine

By the end of 2011, fans will be able to book a hotel room for the Euro 2012 European Football Championship on the websites of cities that will host the championship, the press service of Kyiv City State Administration reported, with reference to the administration’s head, Oleksandr Popov.

As of today, some 6,119 rooms have been booked in Kyiv for fans and the UEFA family.

According to Popov, it is planned to open four hotels in Kyiv by the end of 2011, and reconstruction and construction of four more hotels will be finished by the beginning of the tournament. In addition, 25,000 beds have been contracted for fans, Popov said.

He added that an operator for online booking and the accommodation of fans was selected via an open competition. He did not name the company.

At the same time, a press release from the hotel booking network reads that most room booking systems in hotels in the cities that will host Euro 2012 have not been launched yet.

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Hotels harnessing video on the web

September 27, 2011

WHAT do car tyres, baby diapers and breakfast cereals have in common?

They all make adverts to promote their brands on radio, TV and, of course, increasingly on the internet. Hotels are no exception.

In a market where the choice is vast and diverse many hotels are increasingly turning to internet videos to make their accommodation stand out from the rest.

So the last thing leading hotel chains do is scrimp on budget and creativity when making spectacular videos aimed to increase brand awareness and gain better positions in search engines.

So here’s’s top five most innovative adverts made by hotel chains:

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Dali. The man, the mystery…and his favorite hotel

September 23, 2011

SPANISH genius and eccentric enigma. Salvador Dali earned fame as a painter, photographer and even film-maker, yet he is still recognized as one of the most ambiguous personalities of the 20th century.

Olga Leleka looks at the man, his love of Paris and the hotel he called home in the French Capital.

Salvador Dali in 1954

The world would never have recognized the scale of Dali’s talent and flamboyance if the famous painter wasn’t preoccupied with his passions for art, women and Paris.

He first became acquainted with Paris in 1926 when a young visited the city with his family. Captured by the beauty of the “City of Light”, the young fellow discovered a workshop held by Pablo Picasso.

Inspired by the master, Dali used to spend hours learning to paint in Picasso’s style. His attempts to emulate Picasso would instill in him a lifelong passion for art.

On his return to Madrid, Salvador Dali would forget about Paris for the next three years and become a part of forward-thinking intellectual life of Spain – challenging the backwardness of the political system and the Catholic Church of Spain and its beliefs that were out-of-step with contemporary thought.

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Croatia’s undiscovered treasure

September 15, 2011

CROATIA is one of the most-hyped destinations in Europe. Despite the throngs of tourists there are still some areas where you can escape the crowds and surround yourself with nature and civilization in perfect harmony. chief executive Alexander Protoven talks about the island of Lopud.

The beautiful Croatian island of Lopud. Click to see larger image. Photos by Alexander Protoven.

One visit was all it took – I was in love.

There are few destinations in the world I can honestly say I want to return to again and again, but the Croatian Island of Lupud ranks almost top of my list.

The appeal is in the fact it isn’t a destination overflowing with tourists, but it is too good not to share.

Lopud is a 50-minute ferry ride northwest of tourist hot-spot Dubrovnik and is a part of the Elafiti islands. This archipelago of nine islands can be seen from Dubrovnik and only three, Koločep, Lopud and Sipan are inhabited.

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Oktoberfest – it’s not too late.

September 8, 2011

HAVE an urge to wear lederhosen or a dirndl?

Swilling beer, partying and wearing the traditional costumes at this year’s Oktoberfest in Munich might seem out of reach to the last minute traveler little over a week from the festival’s start.

Think again says, which offers a live connection to hotel databases worldwide.

According to the hotel reservation website, hotel deals in the German city are still available.

A search of’s Munich hotel live databases shows more than 60 hotels still had rooms available for two between September 17 and October 3 – the dates of the festival.

The event, the world’s most famous beer festival, takes place every year in September and October as the populations swells by thousands meaning hotel accommodation is at a premium.

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The world will be watching Ukraine – Euro 2012

September 1, 2011

IT is a nation commonly associated with hot women, Chernobyl and political upheaval. Yet, after 20 years as a state, the world still doesn’t know much more about Ukraine, but this is a country poised to emerge onto the world’s stage for Euro 2012.

The massive scale of the redeveloped Kyiv Olimpiysky Stadium. Click for larger image. Photos by Alexander Iashchuk

In April 2007, Ukraine and Poland were announced as co-hosts of the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, becoming the easternmost host nations in the European Championship’s 14-year history.

The massive initial celebrations were tempered by the fact both nations had to move fast to bring stadiums up to scratch as the eyes of Europe and much of the football-watching world looked to them to see if they were up to the challenge of hosting the coveted tournament.

Fast-forward three years and it seems both nations are more than capable of meeting the test – less than a year out from the beginning of Euro 2012.

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