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Looking for a Quiet Getaway? Consider a Boutique Hotel Over a Chain



Are you considering going on a quiet getaway, a time to rest, and to reflect on the challenges 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon the world?

The world has moved through three-quarters of 2020. And so far, it has been interesting and extremely challenging. 


Succinctly stated, the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, has spread rapidly through the world’s population, resulting in over 40 million infections and 1 119 545 deaths to date. These global figures are currently increasing between 300 000 and 420 000 infections per day. Similarly, the total fatality rate is going up by 6 000 and 8 000 every 24 hours.

Most of the world’s governments instituted a hard lockdown or shelter-in-place order where all non-essential businesses were closed. Residents were confined to their homes, only being allowed out to buy food and seek medical attention.

These national and state-wide lockdowns were lifted by the start of the northern hemisphere summer. However, countries and states are attempting to implement local lockdowns in neighborhoods where the virus numbers are shooting up once again.

As an aside, only two countries, Israel and Ireland, have reinstated national lockdown measures to slow down the virus’s R rate or the reproduction rate.

What does the COVID-19 pandemic have to do with the boutique hotels like the Condor Hotel in Brooklyn and the need for a quiet getaway?

The succinct answer to this question is that the mental health consequences of the global pandemic and the need for social distance have led to issues such as anxiety, major depression, and general burnout.

Note: Burnout is not an official psychiatric diagnosis, but it describes a “state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” And “it occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”

A quiet, relaxing getaway is one of the best answers to the question of how to recover from burnout.

At the outset of this discussion, it is essential to note that, according to, a boutique hotel is described as a “small hotel which typically has between 10 and 100 rooms in settings with upscale accommodations and individualized, unique selling points” like a strong personality or theme, is steeped in the local culture and focuses on high-quality food and beverage.

Reasons to Stay at a Boutique Hotel Over a Chain

1. Small, intimate setting

As highlighted above, a boutique hotel should have no more than 100 rooms. The Condor, for instance, has 35 rooms, each with a private bathroom. These rooms are a talking point for The Condor. Each room features contemporary décor with luxurious bedding, modern amenities, and a private entrance onto the hotel property’s stunning garden.

The most significant benefit of this hotel is that there will never be a large number of guests at any given moment. Therefore, you can relax and enjoy yourself in a peaceful, tranquil environment.

2. Strong personality or ambiance

Again, the maximum number of guests plays a major role in the hotel’s ambiance. In other words, a boutique hotel’s environment is individualistic, has an independent attitude, and staff are extremely attentive to guests.

Concierge staff go out of their way to offer guests a one-of-a-kind experience providing the special touches. They also organize tours to local tourist sites. For example, the Condor is located in the historical Williamsburg district of Brooklyn. If asked, the staff will recommend which sights to visit.

3. Infused with local flavor

Boutique hotels often take on the cultural heritage of its surrounding buildings. Again, if we use our example of the Williamsburg district, we can see how the Condor has taken on the local culture to become an integral part of the district.

Williamsburg is infused with a combination of history and the area’s gentrification with a contemporary art scene, the hipster culture, and a vibrant nightlife.

As a town, Williamsburg originated in 1638 when the Dutch West India Company bought the town’s land from the Lenape Native Americans who lived in the area. The area grew, and in 1855, several villages and towns were joined together to form Brooklyn. And in 1898, the five boroughs, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan, were consolidated into the modern New York City.

The town of Williamsburg is best known for the Battle of Williamsburg, as part of the American Civil War in 1862. The article on this battle has noted that “much of the battlefield has been lost to development, but the Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners have acquired and preserved 69 acres (0.28 km2) of the battlefield.”

This precinct forms an integral part of the historical part of Williamsburg and the greater Brooklyn area and often forms part of local tours around Williamsburg.

The post Looking for a Quiet Getaway? Consider a Boutique Hotel Over a Chain appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

By: Marina Villatoro
Title: Looking for a Quiet Getaway? Consider a Boutique Hotel Over a Chain
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Published Date: Fri, 16 Oct 2020 18:49:05 +0000

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
All my flight and lounge reviews are indexed here so check them out!

Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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