Tag Archives: crack reporter

Would you share a hotel room with a stranger?

2 Aug

By Ken Hegan for MSN

Would you share a hotel room with a total stranger?

That’s the concept behind Easynest.com, a startup that connects solo travellers looking to save cash on hotel stays.

Hotel room
Here’s the thing: hotel rates are based on double occupancy. Which is a win for couples but if you’re flying solo, you pay a premium. That’s where Easynest comes in. Instead of spending $40 on a stained bunk bed in some ratbag hostel (and instead of paying $80 for a whole hotel room to yourself), you can pay 40 bucks to get 1 of 2 beds in the $80 hotel room.

So you’ll pay hostel prices but get more room and comfort (in theory). Easynest’s slogan: “Share cost. Make friends.”

Just pray you don’t spend the night with, say, Heisenberg or Swimfan.

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New York Pass gives you 80+ attractions for $85 (today only)

31 Jul

By Ken Hegan for MSN

Here’s a sweet deal that’ll make your New York trip better, cheaper, and easier.

For one day only, July 31st, 2013, you can pay just $85 (that’s $30 off the regular price) to get into over 80 New York attractions. It’s called, quite naturally, the New York Pass and you can order it online here.

New York City

Empire State Building and the Manhattan skyline      Photo: Richard Drew

My superfine girlfriend’s mother sent her the link. So either her mum approves of us hanging out (whew) or she wants my g-friend to go enjoy herself solo in the Big Apple. Either way, it’s a helluva deal. Read on for more info!

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Cute B&B exposed as naked hangout club

24 Jul

By Ken Hegan for MSN

Looking for a cute B&B near the Kennedy Space Center in Cocoa, Florida?

Why not book a room at this lovely bed and breakfast!

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It’s called the Castle Alta Vista Hilltop Retreat and it’s located on a private hilltop overlooking Cape Canaveral. This relaxing retreat features a large swimming pool with fancy Roman statues, a pool slide, hot tub, sun deck, hammock deck, private river-view deck, king-sized beds, antique baby grand piano, air conditioning, cable TV, WiFi, and free parking.

Breakfast is included, you’re allowed to smoke, it’s handicap accessible, cats are welcome, plus there’s a pet macaw AND a pet African Grey Parrot. All for just $105 a night!

There are just a couple of hitches. No kids allowed and the swimming pool is clothing-optional because, well, the whole joint is a ‘naked hangout club’.

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Would you play departure roulette?

22 Jul

By Ken Hegan for MSN

Imagine this:

You’re at the airport and set to board a plane. Suddenly a woman offers you a free flight to a mystery destination. It could be Mongolia, Laos, Thailand, Argentina, Morocco, Romania, Cyprus, Portugal, wherever.

Guy makes decision

The stress of making big life choices

Your mission: press a red button and let a roulette wheel decide where you’re going. Free trip, all expenses paid. The catch? Whatever destination it lands on, you must drop your plans,  board a new flight, and fly somewhere else right away. Plus you have to go alone. I don’t think the woman comes with you.

Would you do it? Would you drop everything, ditch your family or friends, and gamble on fate?

Those were the questions posed by a brilliant interactive publicity stunt at JFK in New York City. Dutch brewer Heineken set up a Departure Roulette wheel at JFK terminal 8, to offer real trips to real people. All to promote the spirit of adventure and, well, their decent lightweight beer.

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Voice robot finds you cheap flights

19 Jul

By Ken Hegan for MSN

Photo-2Would you rather talk than type?

Then you’ll like this robo-gadget.

A budget travel search engine, CheapAir.com, has released a new voice-activated flight search app. The app – also called CheapAir — uses the Siri voice robot built into your iPhone (OS 4S and higher) or iPad 3.

So now you can find seat sales simply by yelling at a robot lady.

Siri listens to your request and converts your speech into text. Then the app finds matching results from hundreds of airlines (apparently it sifts through 25 million fares a day).

All without you filling out a search form.

Here’s how it works:

1) Download the CheapAir app

2) Make sure Siri’s on. Grab your iPhone, go to Settings, then General, then find Siri and turn her on.

3) Open the app. Admire the old-fashioned cartoon propeller plane. Then click on the green ‘Start Your Search’ button.
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Hide from death and the law in Vancouver’s retro Burrard hotel

18 Jul

By Ken Hegan for MSN

Stayed in a strange Miami beach motel last week. And it was 4,505 kilometers away from Florida on Canada’s west coast.

The Burrard hotel is a throwback, 4-storey motel in downtown Vancouver, BC. It’s across the street from St. Paul’s, an acute-care hospital that specializes in heart attacks (treating heart attacks, not causing them). So if your relative is on life support and you want to drink your worries away in a kitschy paradise, slouch on over to the Burrard.

Screen shot 2013-07-12 at 1.39.22 AMBuilt in 1956, the Burrard turned seedy for decades until it was given a saucy hipster makeover last year. Now it’s an under-heralded art deco gem that you probably won’t find in travel brochures. This pastel-painted motel will make you feel like you’re on the lam from a Tampa Bay bank heist gone awry and you’re lucky to be alive.

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Resort gives free Porsches to guests

17 Jul

By Ken Hegan for MSN

Stay at the resort, get a Porsche for free.

That’s what the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in San Diego is offering their well-heeled guests this month. The 5-star, 45-acre luxury resort (Southern California’s only Relais & Chateaux property) has partnered with Porsche of San Diego to unveil their ‘Porsche Test Drive’ program.

Rancho Valencia guests can borrow one of three Porsche models — the 911 convertible (below), Panamera Hybrid, or the Cayenne GTS. Pretty sweet wheels. I rode in all three in Marbella, Spain and these cars are so powerful, they’ll scare the pants off of wildlife, hitchhikers, highway cops, and even ghosts.

Porsche

Impatient resort guest wants chatty man to move       AP Photo/Tony Ding

Take your Porsche as far as you like along the Southern California coast. All you need is a driver’s license and current auto insurance.

No charge either. Porsches for everybody! Oprah would love this promotion.

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Motel survival guide

15 Jul

By Ken Hegan for MSN

The best summer weekends demand sequels.

So we went floating again down the warm, winding channel in Penticton, BC. Huge fun. Raved about it here last year. But I neglected to mention where to stay. My recommendation: stay in a vintage motel on Skaha Lake Road. For 2 years now, we’ve avoided the beige chain hotels and stayed at the fabulous Bel-Air Motel.

A park-outside-the-door joint, the Bel-Air was built in 1967 and renovated in…actually I’m not sure it’s ever been renovated.

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The sign features this diving bathing beauty but the pool doesn’t have a diving board so I’m not sure what that’s about.

Got a vicious Vegas hangover? Save your soul in Hangover Heaven

10 Jul

By Ken Hegan for MSN

Las Vegas means hangovers (or, if you’re a CSI fan, Vegas means death by hangover).

But your crazy bachelorette party doesn’t have to end in horrendous pain and suffering. Next time you over-indulge on the Vegas Strip, don’t whimper in a fetal ball and let the tiger pounce on your neck. Instead, grab your baby, stagger aboard the Hangover Heaven bus, and let physicians nurse you back to health.

Hangover

Each day between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., the Hangover Heaven bus patrols the Las Vegas Strip to scoop up lost and wounded souls who are desperate to recuperate after a night of debauchery. Billed as a “rolling hangover treatment clinic,” this 13.7 meter long bus has been “modified to provide first-class medical treatment while simultaneously offering resort-style comfort” for the horribly afflicted.

You can prebook a hangover appointment — especially when your hotel bed starts to spin — but you can’t still be drunk when the bus picks you up at your hotel. This mobile clinic is a place of purity where your body gets rehydrated in 2 hours with IV fluids and other hangover remedies.

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USA, USA, USA! Tourism in America hits record high

8 Jul

By Ken Hegan for MSN

Americans are pretty pleased with themselves this week (well, even more than usual). A new report says visits to the USA have hit a record high.

The US Department of Commerce’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries has released their latest report International Visitation to the United States: A Statistical Summary (2012). As you expect, it’s a great beach read that you can’t put down.

The report reveals a big surge in people streaming into America for play, work, vacations, being a mule, and wild Vegas nights they can never, ever tell anyone about. Overall, visitations grew 7% over 2011. 4 million more people visited the US to reach an all-time high of 67 million international visitors. That’s more than everyone who lived in the Roman Empire in the 4th century AD.

The majority of travellers were Americans’ neighbours from Canada (we’re #1!) and Mexico.

American visitors

Everyone who wears a swimsuit through Customs gets a free American flag towel

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