Hotel for rescue dogs
Aloft, the midrange hotel brand owned by Marriott, has pet-friendly policies at its more than 140 locations. A handful of Aloft properties are taking the puppy love a step further, teaming up with local shelters and rescue organizations to encourage pet adoption by housing a furry friend in their lobby. The Aloft pet adoption program was started at the Aloft in Asheville, N.C., in 2014. The hotel takes in a dog and houses it in a state-of-the-art doghouse adjacent to the check-in desk. Guests can take the dog for a walk and hang out to play and cuddle. Should they decide to adopt, hotel staff helps manage logistics. In Asheville, more than 130 dogs have found homes through the process. Aloft locations in Greenville, S.C., Tallahassee, Fla., and Orlando have similar programs.
New York Times
Star Tribune honored
Two Star Tribune journalists took top honors in the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s recent travel journalism competition. Brian Peterson won gold for his photo illustration of the “Feeling Superior” series in the Outdoors section; read it at startribune.com/feelingsuperior. Kerri Westenberg won gold in the short work category for her story on Nantucket, “Swimming with the one percenters”; read it at strib.mn/2Jnn61c. The “Feeling Superior” series — produced by Outdoor editor Bob Timmons, along with freelance writer Melanie Radzicki McManus and Star Tribune journalists Peterson, David Braunger and Jenni Pinkley — also earned a silver in the special series category. The Travel section was given honorable mention for best newspaper travel coverage, behind the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and New York Times.
The Bourne attraction
Universal Studios Florida is opening a new attraction based on the film character Jason Bourne. The Bourne Stuntacular will debut in spring 2020. It will feature “live performers, high-tech props and an immense LED screen, making it impossible to discern where the live action ends and the cinema begins,” Universal said. It will be “a hybrid form of entertainment that has never been seen before.” Universal didn’t give much away as far as Stuntacular plot or visuals. It said that the Jason Bourne character — a CIA assassin and amnesiac, played by Matt Damon in the Universal action-film series — attempts to evade capture, repeatedly. Other movie series developed into Universal Studios attractions include “The Fast and the Furious,” “Men in Black,” “Despicable Me,” “Transformers” and “Harry Potter.”
Delta bundles up
Delta Air Lines has introduced a new “travel benefits bundle” called SkyMiles Select that costs $59 for a year. Its benefits include priority boarding in the “Main Cabin 1” zone, eight drink vouchers and “a limited-edition bag tag.” One group that could benefit: those who book “basic economy” tickets, who board last. If they buy the bundle, they get to board earlier. “There is some value here,” says Kyle Potter, editor-in-chief of the Minneapolis-based website Thrifty Traveler. “Not a ton.” Most beer, wine and spirits cost $9, so eight drink vouchers are worth more than the $59 fee. But, Potter points out, Delta credit card holders already board in the same group, and those with certain levels of frequent flier status board earlier.