If you’re traveling with a dog and check into the Aloft Ashville Hotel, your pup gets a plush bed, dog bowls, and a bag of organic gourmet dog biscuits from a local bakery as well as dog toys.
You’ll also find a lovable dog in the hotel’s lobby, and that dog is part of the hotel’s foster dog program. Working with a local animal rescue facility, the hotel decided to help place abandoned dogs in homes. So that dog in the lobby can be adopted, and since the program began last July, 20 dogs have been.
You don’t just fall in love with Fido and take him home. If you’re visiting from out of town, a Humane Society or local rescue group will visit you and your home and make sure everything is up and up before your dog is released to join you or your family.
Aloft is the boutique hotel brand of Starwood hotels, and while all Alofts are pet friendly, the Aloft Asheville Hotel is more than most.
Yesterday I told you how to save money by renting a car from RelayRentals.com, a company that rents personal cars to the public for a lot less than conventional car rental companies. Here’s how it works for the owner of those wheels.
So you have a second car you rarely use. Or you are flying somewhere for a week or so. You can turn your car over to RelayRentals and offer it to the public to drive.
First of all, you avoid airport parking—Relay Rides keeps your car parked for you. The company covers your car for both damages and liability for up to a million dollars. With no deductible. And that’s primary insurance, not secondary, which means if anything goes wrong, your insurance company isn’t involved, and your premiums aren’t affected. Plus, you get a share of the revenue your car brings in.
RelayRentals checks out renters’ driving records by tapping into motor vehicle departments’ data bases in 50 states. Bad driving record, and a renter isn’t allowed to play.
The CEO of RelayRides, Andre Haddad, said on my weekend radio show that the average person can make about $350 a month by renting out a car to others. That’ll cover some depreciation and overhead of owning car. And he puts his car where his mouth his—his Porsche 911 is in the rental pool in San Francisco.
The company is called RelayRides, and it puts you as a renter together with the private owner of a car willing to let you use it. Tomorrow I’ll talk about how this works for a car owner, but today let’s examine RelayRides from the renter’s point of view.
I’ve twice flown into San Francisco’s airport, taken a shuttle bus to the nearby Hyatt, and picked up someone else’s car. Once it was a Toyota Prius with 100,000 miles on it that I drove for five days for $20 a day, all in. Another time I rented a 10-year-old Mercedes in great condition for $40 a day.
The cars may not be as new and shiny as your average rental car, but the price is a lot less than I would have paid a conventional rental car company.
RelayRides.com lists private cars for rent in 2,000 cities and 260 airports. I think it’s as disruptive to the rental car business as Uber is to taxis and Airbnb is to hotels. If saving money while renting a car is a priority to you, check out RelayRides and rent someone else’s car. Which, when you think about it, is what you do from Mr. Hertz or Mr. Avis, anyway.
Recently I reported on the incredible growth of Chinese tourists who are going abroad, especially to Japan and the US. It seems one cruise line company thinks it’s time to introduce the Chinese to the midnight buffet.
Carnival Cruise Lines is making a big pitch for Chinese business. It’s adding a fourth ship to its Asian fleet—four years ago it only had one there—and it’s building more. In China.
(That’s the Costa Serena pictured that’s sailing from China this year.)
Carnival is making sure there’s plenty of room for tai chi classes, and I was just kidding about the midnight buffet. Apparently the Chinese don’t do buffets. Or spa treatments.
But they do like intimate gambling parlors and shorter cruises—four days on average, says Carnival.
The cruise line says it’s already captured 55 to 60 per cent of the Chinese cruise market that it expects will rival America’s in numbers in 10 years. And here’s a surprising demographic: While the typical age of Western passengers is between 40 and 70 years old, it’s the Millennials who are all aboard in the East. The newly wealthy 25 to 45 year olds buy the cruises and often take their parents and extended family along.
I predict in ten years they’ll come to appreciate that midnight buffet!
You may be following the news surrounding the replacement of the Portland’s airport carpet in Oregon (pictured). Its iconic design, a bird’s-eye view of the layout of the airport’s runway, has been beloved for years; its Facebook page has nearly 13,000 fans, and you can buy all manner of apparel with its design.
But what about the rest of the world. Don’t worry—George Pendle has that, um, covered.
George Pendle is a DC-based journalist who writes on science and culture for such serious publications as the Financial Times and The Economist. But 13 years ago, during a long delay at Newark’s airport, he found himself staring at the carpet. And he decided airport carpets might be the largest display of art in the world and that an airport’s carpet often reflected the community in which it was located.
So he started a website called Carpets for Airports, a very unusual but strangely fascinating site featuring postage-stamp size photos of airport carpets around the world including a critique of said carpets.
You can join his small army of what he calls “carpeteers” by sending in your contributions. This, my friends, is the glory of the Internet. Check it out at CarpetsForAirports.com.