TRAVEL TUESDAY – Going Green

If you are booking your next business trip, have you considered staying at a “green” hotel?

Environmentally friendly hotels are all the rage, and many hotels have been doing their bit (albeit sometimes token) for the environment for a while. More than 33% of business travelers “seek out hotels that are environmentally friendly”, and 28% said they will pay 10% more to stay in a green hotel. Business travelers expect hotels to recycle, use energy-efficient lighting, give guests the option of not having sheets and towels changed every day and use environmentally safe cleaning products.

But the Travel Weekly business travel survey found that 75% of those surveyed said that their company’s travel policies do not recommend staying at hotels with green programs. Does your corporate travel agency??

In my experience these guys are setting the standards in business green travel:

Kimpton Hotels – green efforts date back to 1981 and continue strongly to this day http://www.kimptonhotels.com/kimpton-cares/earthcare.aspx
Hyatt Olive on 8 Seattle – the best hotel I have stayed at in Seattle http://olive8.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/
Marriott – is named best hotel chain for green efforts

And if by chance you want to take a break this chain is amazing at doing luxury eco-friendly 5 star stays! http://www.sixsenses.com/soneva/

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Plugged In


Trying to remember which converter to take to a country to make sure you can charge everything, dry your hair and do the ironing.

Start by taking a look at the back of the device you want to use. If it says something like “100-240V, 50/60 Hz”, it will work anywhere in the world with the right adapters. Connecting a device to a lower voltage than it was designed for is generally not dangerous; the device may not work correctly, but no dramatic failure is likely. Giving any device a voltage higher than it was designed for is dangerous eg if you put 230 volts into a 110V it will melt or explode!

There are only two main types of electric systems used around the world:
100-127 volt, at 60 hertz frequency (in general: North and Central Americas, Western Japan)
220-240 volt, at 50 hertz frequency (in general: the rest of the world, with some exceptions)

Originally Europe was 120 V too, just like Japan and the US today. It was deemed necessary to increase voltage to get more power with less losses and voltage drop from the same copper wire diameter. At the time the US also wanted to change but because of the cost involved to replace all electric appliances, they decided not to. At the time (50s-60s) the average US household already had a fridge, a washing-machine, etc., but Europe did not.

But don’t despair, most mobile phones and digital cameras chargers work with both 110V and 240V systems, though you may still need an adaptor plug or have to use the shaver socket.

Here is a list of plug sockets and voltage for your next trip – http://www.kropla.com/electric2.htm

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Wine

Have you purchased a great bottle of wine when travelling that you want to bring home, but have left it in the hotel for fear of it breaking in your luggage? Hoorah, you will never have to do that with a “wine skin”! You just insert the wine in the bottle-shaped bubble wrap bag and seal it up air-tight. The bubbles prevent it from breaking in-flight, but if you hit turbulence, the seal prevents any liquid from leaking out and ruining your clothes.
http://www.wineskin.net

Or alternately don’t buy any wine and just drink on the plane.

Singapore Airlines remains the world’s second biggest buyer of Dom Perignon Champagne and spends $16 million a year on wine and $500 million on inflight meals. The airline’s first class passengers go through 20,000 bottles of wine and champagne each month (even though no plane has more than 12 first-class seats!) That’s a lot of wine per passenger. Although if you are on the longest non-stop flight in world – Singapore to Newark, N.J. there is a lot of time to drink during the 18.5 hours and 10,317 miles.

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Taxis


Landing from a long flight and wondering how best to get to your hotel? Well 54% of travellers choose a taxi over getting the train (16%), catching a bus (16%) or walking (2%)

If you are flying into London then you are lucky, the famous black taxis are number one for safety, friendliness, cleanliness, quality of driving and knowledge of the area . But it comes at a price, as they are the most expensive globally.

Best value for money – Bangkok’s infamous Tuk Tuk. But it was also voted worst in the world for ‘Quality of Driving’, poorest cleanliness and safety, so you may want to rethink catching one if you are on your way to an important meeting.

Who are the best tippers? Hong Kong residents are the most generous, choosing to tip at least 20% of the fare or more. Argentinians are the worst tippers, most never tipping their taxi drivers.

World’s best taxis
1.London
2.New York
3.Hong Kong
4.Tokyo
5.Singapore
6.Bangkok
7.Berlin
8.Helsinki
9.Dublin
10.Madrid

Source: Annual taxi report compiled by Hotels.com (5,000 travellers from 23 countries) , a leading hotel booking website, travellers rank Singapore as the fifth best city in the world for taxis.

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Best Business Hotels

Booking your next business trip and trying to work out where to stay? The Business Traveller awards highlight the best hotels and hotel chains based on readers feedback, for those of us who spend time on the road for work.

Best Business Hotel Chain Worldwide
1. Four Seasons
2. Hilton Hotels and Resorts
3. Mandarin Oriental
4. Marriott
5. InterContinental

Best Business Hotel Globally
1. The Peninsula Hong Kong
2. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
3. Four Seasons Hong Kong
4. Shangri-La Singapore

Best Hotel Loyalty Scheme
InterContinental Priority Club
Hilton HHonors
Starwood Preferred Guest
Marriott Rewards

And to look stylish and make life easier when packaging the favourite Luggage Brands
1. Samsonite
2. Tumi
3. Delsey
4. Rimowa

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Airport Lounges


The quality of airport lounges have a big influence (for me anyway), on how early I get there for a flight. Holidays I always make an effort to make time for a glass of champagne pre-boarding to get into the spirit, but work trips not so much. So which lounges are the cream of the crop and what do they offer.

World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge (as voted on world airline awards)
1. Qatar Airways
Has its own luxury terminal with full spa facilities, martini bar, restaurants, bedrooms, sushi bar, children’s play area… and the list goes on!
2. Thai Airways
Spa, Restaurant, sleep rooms
3. Lufthansa
Restaurants, relaxing areas, bars

World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge
1. British Airways
2. Virgin Atlantic Airways
3. Cathay Pacific Airways

Personally I would add Cathay, Emirates and Qantas to the first class lounge list, as not sure Thai and Lufthansa are that special. Business class – definitely Virgin number one, and from my experience Cathay and Singapore Air outshine BA.

But I will let you be the judge!

TRAVEL TUESDAY – Hong Kong Hotel

Already a big fan of the Four Seasons properties, I was not disappointed with my stay in Hong Kong. Rarely do you find an exceptional business hotel, but this is one.

From the moment I got out of the taxi the staff were amazing. Nothing was too much trouble and although a city business hotel, they are extremely family-friendly too.

The rooms are big for HK and I would suggest paying extra for a harbour view. Pool is fabulous and the hotel is in such a good location with IFC adjoining for some sneaky shopping, and everything else is close by. The gym is fabulous and if you have time after a busy day of meetings, I recommend making a visit to the spa.