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Have a Haunting Halloween in These Hotels

The haunting holiday, Halloween, is creeping right around the corner. While some may spend it by dressing up as their favourite ghoul or by going door to door for trick-or-treating, some brave souls work up the courage to fulfil the ultimate freaky experience—spending the night in a haunted room.

If ghost hunting and getting a good fright is what you crave for, here is a list of hotels you can stay in to get you a good scare!

The Stanley

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Probably the most famous hotel on the list, The Stanley was the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s novel, The Shining. But apart from that, the hotel has inspired and spooked many through its haunting history.

The Stanley, located in Estes Park, Colorado, is a hot bed for paranormal activity. It is said that the original owner of the hotel, F.O. Stanley and his wife, still wanders around the hotel. Majority of the rooms in the hotel has experienced a spook or two over the years, from items moving on their own to lights being turned on and off.

You can book a room in The Stanley and marvel at its iconic architecture or, if you’re up for the scare, roam around the hotel hoping to spot an apparition or two.

The Hollywood Roosevelt

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Hollywood Roosevelt, also known as Hotel Roosevelt, is famed for housing several celebrities under its roof. So it would be no surprise that the hauntings in the hotel would be equally star studded.

The 12-story hotel in Hollywood is said to haunted by multiple ghosts. Montgomery Cliff, who stayed in Room 928 while he filmed From Here to Eternity, is said to still be ‘occupying’ Room 928. Having guests complain about him moving around the room and shifting their luggage’s. Perhaps the most famous haunting is the ghost of Marilyn Monroe, the bombshell was known to appear in the full-length mirror that was once in her suite.

Omni Mount Washington Resort

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Built in 1902 by Caroline Foster and her husband, railroad tycoon Joseph Stickney, the Omni Mount Washington hosted many celebrities and high society with its modern and luxurious amenities of the time.

Despite the resort now being part of the 21stcentury, the ghosts that roam its halls are pretty much still stuck in time. In Room 314, formerly Caroline’s private suite, have had guests awoken to her sitting on the foot of the bed and have light taps on the door when no one was outside. She is also said to roam the hall wearing her elegant Victorian dress.

Hotel Monteleone

Just like any haunted hotel, Hotel Monteleone has a stash of ghost sightings within its halls. Operated by the same family for four generations of the Monteleone family, the hotel still keeps majority of the old decors. Such as the grandfather clock in the lobby, polished marble floors, glittering chandeliers and roaming spirits.

A few sightings in the hotel are a boy and another young spirit who loves playing hide-and-seek, an engineer and star-crossed lovers. The grandfather clock in the lobby is said to be a hot bed for paranormal activity. Guests and hotel staff have encountered a lost child that would hold their hand and then disappear after looking at their eyes and Jazz singers wailing in the lobby for nights.

If you aren’t up for the paranormal, fret not, the hotel is also home to one of the best and historical bars in New Orleans.

The Pfister Hotel

Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Pfister Hotel is only a couple of blocks away from Lake Michigan and has a stunning collection of Victorian art that could easily rival collections from around the world. Apart from being home to priceless art, Pfister Hotel is also home to some ghostly residents.

This historical landmark in Milwaukee is one of America’s most haunted hotels and some may argue, in the world. The hotel hosts major league baseball and basketball players when they come to town. Over the years, the players have reported paranormal activities such as knocking on their doors when no one is out in the corridors and having their electronics go haywire. An elderly gentleman’s apparition—presumably the hotels founder, Charles Pfister—is also seen walking the halls.

 

 

High-Fiving Each Other on a Roller Coaster Ride?

West Coast Racers
Image credit: Six Flags

Adrenaline junkies, this one’s for you! Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles have big plans for you — a new slate of rides and roller coasters are coming  your way very soon.

Six Flags Magic Mountain has recently announced their new rides for 2019, including the West Coast Racers — the world’s first racing launch coaster. This new ride is different from traditional roller coasters that utilise chains and pulleys to lift the coaster up a hill and subsequently using gravity to pull it down. The West Coast Racers will be using a propulsion system to push it forward.

You’ll be going on two complete laps during your ride, covering several airtime hills, extreme banking turns and experiencing four total inversions which include three zero-G rolls and a zero-G stall. As there are two cars racing during the ride, the trains interact more than 30 times at it gets so close a point in time that you could “high-five” someone on the opposing trains. At the coaster’s fastest point, you will be experiencing it at a speed of 55 mph.

The West Coast Racers is not the only ride to look out for as there are still plenty of roller coasters for you to choose from and enjoy. Did you know that Magic Mountain is the world record holder for the most number of coasters in one park? West Coast Racers will become the park’s 20th roller coaster upon completion.

Although there is not precise date for the launch of the roller coaster, stay tuned and be prepared to book your tickets for Summer 2019 for an awesome vacation at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Bring Your Own Board to California

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A top destination for surfing enthusiasts, California’s beaches are bound to blow you away. That being said, surfers will be delighted to know that it will now be easier for travellers to bring their own boards with the waiver of additional fees.

California has recently named surfing as the official state sport and United Airlines will be chipping in to celebrate the occasion. The airline will be removing the additional $150 to $200 service fee that is required to check in a surfboard, wakeboard or paddleboard on direct United Airlines flights. This will be valid for flights starting or ending at any of the California airports.

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This is part of the airline’s efforts to make it easier for their passengers to surf the beautiful beaches of California. United Airlines connects approximately 18 million annual passengers through its hubs in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Although there are several airlines around the world that allow surfboards to be included as a regular piece of luggage, there are still a few that charge at least $100 for you to bring your equipment along. United Airlines has also donated $50,000 to Sustainable Surf — a non-profit that has the aim of using surfing to help alleviate the ocean health crises.

Welcome to Amazon 4-Star

Amazon
Image credit: Amazon

Amazon, the American electronic commerce and cloud computing company is the largest Internet retailer in the world and will be opening a new store in New York City. That’s not all, the store is also only carrying products with at least 4-star reviews.

Located in Manhattan’s SoHo neighbourhood, the store is named Amazon 4-Star. This new concept store will be stocked with products that customers have on average rated four stars or above, allowing customers to only choose from the best of the best. According to Amazon, the current products in the store averages at 4.4 stars.

There will be a range of products available, from Amazon’s own devices and other consumer electronics to kitchen and home products. Plus, there will also be toys, games and books available for sale — Amazon’s original focus.

Amazon will be using data from sales and customer wish lists to display trending and most-wished-for items.

If you’re thinking that the store might be a holiday pop-up, fret not because it is meant to be a permanent fixture in the neighbourhood. At Amazon 4-Star, the store adopts digital price tags which show both the full price and the Amazon.com price — which frequently changes based on Amazon’s pricing algorithm.

This is not Amazon’s first foray into physical retail. Amazon 4-Star has been set up after the brick and mortar Amazon Books store. In addition, Amazon also has seasonal pop-ups in malls and various locations.

What to do in Juneau, Alaska

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Known for its diverse terrains of abundant open spaces, mountains, forests and wildlife, Alaska is America’s largest and sparsely populated state. It’s not much of what you do once you get there but it is about how you go to places.

There are plenty of places where you can paddle a kayak, cruise in a boat, or even soar in a seaplane. There are a seemingly infinite number of activities fitted for all ages, abilities and experience levels.

Juneau, Alaska’s remote capital, is filled with activities that would seem enigmatic when you’re back home. Getting there is also an adventure itself, as Juneau can only be accessed by boat or seaplane.

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Image credit: Sonny SideUp

One of the common yet unfathomable thing to do in Juneau is by experiencing Mount Roberts. The mountain can be accessed by the Mount Roberts Tramway, an aerial tramway that makes a 3,819-foot ascend from the docks to a height of 1,800-feet. At the top, you would have a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding channels and islands. But of course those are just a bonus to the landscape of the glacier carvings through the mountains.

Speaking of glaciers, a trip to Alaska isn’t complete without a trip to Mendenhall Glacier. 12 miles from downtown Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier is the most Alaskan thing you would see here. A giant sheet of ice flowing downhill from the Coast Range mountains behind Juneau into Mendenhall lake.

You can kayak up to its 70-foot face, walk onto the icy stretch with a certified guide or simply view it from the nearby trails. Sadly, the glacier is melting faster than it is growing due to climate change.

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Apart from conquering mountains or spotting glaciers, you can also go on a walking tour of downtown’s art galleries and public works. Such works worth the visit would be the life-size bronze statue of a breaching humpback whale and the huge ‘Nimbus’ sculpture outside the new Alaska State Museum.

In the Alaska State museum, you can get acquainted with the ancient and modern history of the diverse Native populations who have sustainably resided the lands for thousands of years.

As Juneau lies in the Tlingit territory, a Pacific Northwest coastal tribe known for their elaborate art and totem poles, the Sealaska Heritage Institute has an exhibit that highlights the wonderful mix of traditional and modern indigenous art from Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes.

If you ever travel to Juneau during the frigid months, you can catch plays in the renowned Perseverance Theatre. Downtown’s Goldtown Nickelodeon Theater is also booming with local comedy nights, burlesque shows and the popular ‘Not-so-silent Film Series’ which features live original acoustic soundtracks with classic silent films.

If you want to spend a wild week in Juneau, come in April during the Alaska Folk Festival. Seven nights of bluegrass, blues and folk music which draws a crowd of 1,200 yearly. So be sure to book your hotel early and bring some earplugs if you don’t wish to hear music 24/7!

The Future of the Great American Road Trip

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With all things going electric, it’s not a surprise to find chargers protruding at the side of the roads. With the digital age coming upon us in high speed, the ‘Great American Road Trip’ will be getting a tech upgrade in the coming years.

From laid-back convertible road adventures with friends and family to a lone-wolf motorcycle trip, the great American road trip has a stash full of imagination. But times are changing and a more futuristic mode of travel, namely self-driving cars and electrical cars, are speeding up in everyone’s interests.

There’s nothing like hitting the gas and driving on an open road, with the oddly soothing roar of the engine and the faint sight of exhaust trailing behind. But, soon, gone will be the days where traditional fuel powered cars will be conquering the scenic roads of America.

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In the upcoming years, more Americans are likely to go electric for their next vehicle. The environmental impact of electric cars alone is worth it, reducing the use of foreign oil by up to 60% and lower carbon pollution by 20% if the cars in America was switched to hybrids or electric vehicles.

Despite the benefits of converting to an electric, it comes with a cost. Charging an electric vehicle costs almost twice as much as it does to fill a tank with gas. If you were to go on a road trip, the cost to charge up your vehicle throughout would come close to a flight ticket!

A question that comes to mind for electric vehicle owners is, where would you charge your car in the middle of the road?

Fret not, the government is putting in millions into expanding the electric vehicle market, making the thought of being stranded at the side of the road less prevalent. There are now more than 48,000 charging stations nationwide that can be used by almost all electric model, no matter the make or model.

More and more highways in the US are also making road trips much easier. On the east coast, New York will be investing to produce 400 public chargers and 200 fast chargers on its major roadways, while California will be expanding the state’s charging presence in the next five years.

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With the rise of charging stations, gas stations and rest stops would be the next to go. With charging stations taking over, it would be located nearer to upscale shopping malls and other stores. With rest stops also getting a major upgrade. Tesla is making their own rest stop-esque lounge complete with WiFi, coffee and food trucks.

You can definitely count on technological advancements in the coming years for your next high-tech road trips.

8 Must Do Activities in Alaska

From the largest national park and highest peak to the longest coastline, biggest state and longest day and night, Alaska is without a doubt the land of superlatives. Alaska’s adventure, history, culture, hiking, skiing, wildlife and scenery might easily just be the best that North America has to offer.

You might be a little overwhelmed with where to begin but fret not, we have selected 8 of our favourite haunts and activities to help you out with getting acquainted with the great Alaskan beauty.

1. Denali National Park

Denali National Park

Speaking of tallest peaks, Denali National Park is home to the tallest peak that can be found in the USA. Spread over six million acres consisting of tundra, alpine ranges, glaciers and river valleys, the national park is simply spectacular. Standing at 20,310 feet, “Denali” has been renamed Mount McKinley by modern explorers and it is a mountain that is loved by the locals.

The national park is also home to rich wildlife such as reindeer, wolves, elk. Grizzlies and some 200 species of birds. Whether you’re a nature lover or photography enthusiast, there’s something for everyone at Denali National Park.

 2. Tracy Arm Fjord

Tracy Arm Fjord

Situated 45 miles south of Juneau, Tracy Arm is a classic fjord and stands out as a “must see” for any travellers that are Alaska-bound. The fjord is surrounded by magnificent glaciers and promises to blow your minds away as you pass it on your Alaskan cruise. Witness waterfalls pouring over rock walls, glacier calve, and the resulting icebergs.

As you cruise by the Sawyer Glacier, listen to the ice crackle and pop while waiting for the glacier to calve. As it is an active tidewater glacier, pieces of ice will be falling off the Sawyer Glacier and make a loud entrance to the waters.

Remember to keep your eyes peeled for moose, brown bears, seals and whales!

3. Mendenhall Glacier

Mendenhall Glacier

The 13-mile long Mendenhall Glacier is formed near the Coast Mountains and the Juneau Ice Field. The glacier can be viewed from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Centre. Dive into a history lesson with the park rangers as they explain the natural history of the spectacular landscape that surrounds you.

Plus, take your pick and go on a walk along any of the trails leading you to waterfalls, salmon streams, black bears, bald eagles and rainforests, just to name a few. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, go kayaking or rafting from the waters to get a better view of the surrounding landscape.

4. Pack Creek Bear Viewing Area

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Image credit: Forest Service Alaska Region, USDA

Pack Creek Bear Sanctuary located on Admiralty Island is one of Alaska’s most accessible beer viewing areas but this does not make it any less wild. About 30 minutes by plane, Tongass National Park provides a rugged natural environment that brings you closer to nature. Without “modern” facilities and disruptive mobile connections, it promises an even more enriching experience for the observation of Alaska’s majestic coastal brown bears, the grizzlies. Housing over 1,500 bears, we promise that this will be an adventure of a lifetime.

5. Kenai Fjords National Park

Kenai Fjords National Park
Image credit: DCSL

The Kenai Fjords National Park probably tops the list of recreational activities that Alaska has to offer. Hikers will be pleased to know that the national park boasts hundreds of miles of well maintained trails.

Harding Icefield Trail
Image credit: Justin Morgan

The Harding Icefield Trail that is located within the Kenai National Forest should not be missed. With more than 40 icebergs that can be found along the trail spanning approximately 8 miles, it will be a day hike like no other.

Also, you find yourselves navigating through cottonwood forests, lush meadows and ending the trail with a climb taking you above the tree line and taking in the panoramic vista of the icefield, isn’t that just spectacular?

6. The Northern Lights

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Between the months of September and April, Fairbanks is known to have some of the best views of the aurora borealis on Earth. This is all thanks to it being located right under the aurora oval, which is a geographical region which promises higher chances of catching a glimpse of this breathtaking natural phenomenon. Sign yourselves up on a tour and have access to the best spots for you to catch the northern lights.

Other viewing spots in Alaska include Anchorage and Brooks Range.

 7. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Image credit: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve

Wrangell-St. Elias is America’s largest national park, covering an area of 13.2 million acres. To put things into perspective, the national park is the size of Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park and Switzerland combined! Some of the major peaks in the park include Sandford, Blackburn, Wrangell and Drum and the park is perfect for climbers, kayakers, glacier skiers as well as hikers alike.

Fun fact: Mount Wrangell happens to be the only still active volcano in the park.

8. Iditarod National Historic Trail

Iditarod National Historic Trail
Image credit: Bureau of Land Management

The Iditarod National Historic Trail is Alaska’s one and only National Historic Trail. The network of 2,300-mile winter trails connects Alaskan Native villages, established the dog-team mail and supply route during Alaska’s Gold Rush and is currently serving as a vital recreation and travel link.

The trail is most popularly used for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and is also ideal for a winter hike. The five cabins located along the trail provides shelter and serves as a rest stop for hikers along the way.

 

Glamping in Yosemite National Park

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Camping around the Yosemite National Park is a favourite for many. You get to be closer to nature and spend a day or two slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But sometimes, “glamping” (glamorous camping) is how some would like to get closer to nature.

You can now go on a ultra-hip and Instagramable outing with AutoCamp Yosemite. AutoCamp is known for spearheading alternative outdoor accommodation and has recently announced that Yosemite National Park would be its newest location for the company’s camping-meets-boutique-hotel campsite.

The site is tucked into 35 acres of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and will feature 15 luxury tents, three cabin suites and 80 deluxe Airstream trailers. Each trailer is perfectly tailored to mirror the classic and sleek design of the Airstream but with a modern twist that suits the aesthetic social media obsession.

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Image credit: AutoCamp

The Airstreams are fitted with large windows, letting in plenty of sunlight into the airstream. The fully furnished trailers are also equipped with a plush white bed, which might be the closest thing you’ll get to sleeping on a cloud, and a tiled shower with bath products for you to wash away the dirt and grime from a day of exploring nature.

It wouldn’t be a ‘camping-meets-boutique-hotel campsite’ without the respective hotel amenities. AutoCamp Yosemite will feature a 4,000-square-foot clubhouse, with meeting spaces, a curated shop that offers artisanal food and beverages and a rooftop deck perfect for stargazing.

Apart from the hiking trails that surround the campsite, there is also a pool, hot tub and a freshwater pond for you to take a dip in and relax. Guests can hop onto an on-site shuttle to get a quick and easy access to the national park. If you want to take a break from the wilderness, the nearby town of Mariposa houses an array of restaurants, cafes and even a few breweries.

AutoCamp Yosemite is now taking in reservations for 2019 with nightly rates of $225 for the luxury tents and Airstreams.

Welcome to the World’s First Beer Hotel

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Image credit: BrewDog

Beer enthusiasts rejoice! Located inside a working brewery, the world’s very first crowdsourced beer hotel that is complete with in-room taps and shower minibars is finally opened.

Scottish beer company BrewDog launched a campaign in March last year to fund for a craft beer hotel. Now, the 32-room hotel DogHouse that is located in Columbus, Ohio is all ready for operation and inviting guests and beer enthusiasts from all over the world to wake up inside a brewery.

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Image credit: BrewDog

Upon arrival, bartenders will assist guests on their check in procedure while they sip on complimentary beer. Rooms are furnished with beer taps filled with seasonal BrewDog beer and minibars stocked with beer in every room and shower, guaranteed to provide a wholesome craft beer experience. To top if all off, there are malted barley massages for a vitamin B-rich spa experience.

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Image credit: BrewDog

You can opt for rooms that have views of BrewDog’s brewing facility where guests will also be provided with an all-access pass to watch brewers at work from the comfort of their own bedroom windows.

The hotel lobby will feature games such as beer pong that both hotel guests and brewery visitors can take part in. In addition, the site also features a 6,000 square foot interactive beer museum that will take visitors through the brewing process and introduce the history of craft beer.

DogHouse is currently the world’s first and only venue to provide a fully immersive craft beer experience. Room rates for standard-sized rooms begin at US$162 per night while the BrewMaster Suite start at US$284 a night.