Monthly Archives: November 2009

Alexandria has a Gift for All this Holiday Season

Online Giveaway Grants 12 Special Prizes Worth on Average $1000

ALEXANDRIA, VA (November 2009) ? While a holiday season visit to charming Alexandria is a tradition for many in the Greater Washington area, there?s now 12 enticing reasons to also make ?virtual Alexandria” (www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com ? the website of the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association) another must-visit destination, especially this holiday season.

Now through December 25, enter to win the ultimate gift of the year: one of 12 packages in the ?12 Days of Holiday Giveaways” sweepstakes. No purchase is required to enter. Entries can be submitted online at: www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com

The dozen, specially created and themed packages will be awarded, one each day, from December 26, 2009 through January 6, 2010.

A sampling of four of the days of giveaways is listed below. The complete list of the offerings in each package can be found at:
http://visitalexandriava.com/about-alexandria/12days/

Re-New Year’s Getaway
Spa Relaxation Package, which includes a two-night stay in a deluxe guest room at the new Lorien Hotel & Spa, two 50-minute spa treatments, a wellness-inspired arrival amenity, and breakfast for two in BRABO by Robert WiedmaierTwo gift certificates from Joe Theismann’s Restaurant good for lunch, brunch or dinner for two

First Night Alexandria Package: four adult admissions to First Night Celebration, two souvenir aprons and four long sleeve tee shirts
$100 gift card from The Christmas Attic

A True Love Date for Two Giveaway
Two-night weekend stay at Embassy Suites Alexandria-Old Town, deluxe suite based upon availability and valid Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights and full American breakfast and manager’s evening reception
$125 gift certificate from La Bergerie
$50 gift certificate from Duke’s Bar & Grill located in the Embassy Suites Hotel
VIP tour for two of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens with a gift certificate for lunch at the Mount Vernon Inn restaurant
Two tickets for Potomac Riverboat Company’s Alexandria Seaport Cruise
Two tickets to the Athenaeum?s 2nd Thursday musical event
$50 gift card from Embellishments of Alexandria

$100 gift card from The Christmas Attic

A Del Ray Getaway

Two-night weekend stay at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center
$50 gift certificate from A Show of Hands
$50 gift certificate from Barkley Square Gourmet Dog Bakery & Boutique
$50 gift certificate from RTs Restaurant
$50 gift basket from St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub
$50 gift certificate from La Strada
$50 gift certificate from Taqueria Poblano
$50 gift certificate from Del Merei Grille
$50 gift certificate from Monroe’s – An American Trattoria
Two 30-minute massage gift certificates from Vital Body & Mind Therapies
$100 gift baskets from Artfully Paper & ACKC Cocoa Bar
$75 gift card from Pure Aesthetica
Six-week session at Yoga in Daily Life
$100 gift card from The Christmas Attic

The Grand Prize Getaway (a $2500 Value)
Two-night hotel stay at the Westin Alexandria Presidential Suite with breakfast each day at The Jamieson Grille
$50 gift certificate to the Wharf
Two tickets for the Potomac Riverboat Company’s Alexandria Seaport Cruise
$100 gift certificate from Lawrence Miller
$50 gift card from Embellishments of Alexandria

$100 gift card from Sugar House Day Spa
$100 gift card from The Christmas Attic

About Alexandria
Located within eyesight of and five miles from Washington, DC, is charming Alexandria, VA, with a variety of critically acclaimed restaurants; a boutique district featuring designer clothes, shoes, antiques and home decor; a thriving art scene; a variety of hotels; and hundreds of years of American history among 18th and 19th century architecture.

ALHI Adds Famed Georgia Resorts

The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club & The Cloister at Sea Island Join As ALHI?s Newest Members

WASHINGTON, DC (November 2009) ? The famed Sea Island Resorts, which includes the newly constructed Mobil Five-Star Cloister at Sea Island and its sister resort, the incomparable AAA Five-Diamond Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club, has joined Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). Located along Southeastern Georgia?s scenic Atlantic Coast, Sea Island will now receive dedicated National Sales services and support by ALHI as their authorized National Sales extension to the meetings, incentive/recognition travel, and convention marketplaces, effective immediately. Sea Island Resorts is owned and operated by Sea Island Company.

The two resorts individually become ALHI?s fourth and fifth members in Georgia, joining the chic Mansion on Forsyth Park in historic Savannah; the 3,500-acre, popular Four-Diamond Chateau ?lan in Braselton (near Atlanta); and the brand new Loews Atlanta Hotel, opening in April 2010 in the fashionable Midtown District of Atlanta. For information on any of the ALHI members in Georgia, and worldwide, visit www.alhi.com.

Located half way between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida, Sea Island Resorts features a total of 17,000 square feet of meeting space which includes an elegant 7,800-square-foot ballroom and several boardrooms. The Lodge at Sea Island Golf Club is reminiscent of an English country manor, and offers 40 spacious and luxurious guest rooms and suites that overlook emerald fairways of its championship golf courses and the St. Simons Sound. The stately and significantly larger Cloister at Sea Island offers 175 large guest rooms and suites, situated among hundred-year-old oaks, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, tidal Black Banks River and lush coastal environment.

Recreational options at Sea Island include two championship 18-hole golf courses (Seaside and Plantation), five miles of private beach, the Mobil Five-Star 65,000-square-foot Cloister Spa and Fitness Center, the Sea Island Golf Learning Center, The Cloister Tennis Center with eight Har-Tru clay courts, The Cloister Beach Club, a historic shooting school, guided nature tours, water sports activities, charter yacht cruises, historical tours, beach horseback riding, teambuilding activities, scenic trails for biking and walking, and multiple restaurants and bars including the Mobil Five-Star Georgian Room restaurant.

Sea Island Resorts has earned worldwide acclaim for its distinctive meetings, and even served as site for the 30th annual G8 Summit hosted by President George W. Bush in 2004.

The Lodge at Sea Island was named one of the ?Top 50 Hotels & Resorts in the U.S. and Canada” by Travel + Leisure magazine in 2009, ?#1 Destination for Business Meetings and Golf” by Golf Digest/USA Today in 2008, and #1 in the U.S. for ?World?s 50 Best Golf Hotels” by Golf Digest Index in 2008.

Honors given to The Cloister at Sea Island include being named #6 in the ?Top 50 Resorts in the U.S. and Canada” in 2009 by Travel + Leisure, and selection as one of the ?Best Hotels in the World” by Travel + Leisure.

?Sea Island Resorts is truly an outstanding and unique ?gem? that take any group program to the next level,” said David Gabri, president and CEO of ALHI. ?We?re so pleased that The Cloister and The Lodge are now part of our distinctive portfolio, as they are truly extraordinary meeting options for us to share with CEO?s and planners.”

ALHI?s professional National Sales team can help planners with its diverse and distinctive portfolio of more than 125 Four- and Five-Diamond quality hotels and resorts worldwide, offering over 90,000 rooms and suites and more than 9 million square feet of meeting space. ALHI serves its dues-based membership as a reliable sales extension to planners, providing nearly 25 years of dedicated National Sales services to planners with reliable one-call, experienced national sales access. There is no cost to planners? organizations to utilize the services of ALHI, as its members? dues fund the organization. To see the ALHI portfolio, visit www.alhi.com.

ALHI members include extraordinary meeting and incentive resorts, incomparable city hotels, exclusive smaller hotels, golf resorts, historic and landmark properties, island destinations, resorts with spas, properties in international destinations, and hotels with gaming and entertainment.

ALHI has 16 professionally-staffed National Sales Offices to serve, with locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, New York City, North Carolina, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Philadelphia, Richmond, San Diego, Toronto and Washington, DC. Go to www.alhi.com to identify the ALHI sales professional in your area.

For more information about ALHI, or to inquire about a potential meeting at any of the ALHI member properties, contact your nearest ALHI National Sales Office, call the ?ALHI Group Desk” toll-free at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit www.alhi.com.

Starwood Becomes Senior Partner for Cornell School of Hotel Administration’s Leadership Development Program

Starwood to Participate in the Program?s Seminar Series, Conduct In-Hotel Student Training Sessions and Host Educational Programs at its Corporate Office

ITHACA, NY ? November 18, 2009 ? The Cornell School of Hotel Administration and Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT), two recognized leaders in the hospitality industry, have developed a corporate alliance that will begin Starwood?s three-year senior partnership with the school?s Leadership Development Program (LDP). The alliance will formally begin January 1, 2010, and continue through December 31, 2013.

?With its diverse portfolio of nine global brands and reputation for the highest standards of service, Starwood Hotels and Resorts is an ideal partner for the Leadership Development Program,” said Michael D. Johnson, Dean and E. M. Statler Professor for the School of Hotel Administration. ?This is a great first step to developing a more comprehensive relationship with Starwood.”

LDP is a progressive, hands-on three-year training program for a select number of sophomore, junior and senior students who are aiming for careers in the hospitality industry. Participants in the program advance through several paid employment phases?from entry-level to supervisor, manager, and director positions?at the Statler Hotel. Each phase requires approximately 200 hours work.

As the senior partner of the program, Starwood will provide LDP with practical resources and input by participating in the LDP Seminar Series, conducting activities and training sessions for LDP participants at Starwood-owned properties, and hosting LDP students at the Starwood corporate office to engage in educational programs. Starwood will also provide financial support to the program.

?We are excited to be partnering with the School of Hotel Administration?s Leadership Development Program,” said Frits van Paasschen, President and CEO of Starwood. ?These students are being trained to be the next generation of leaders and innovators in hotel operations, and we are confident that the ?real life? experience that Starwood can provide will enhance their supervisory and managerial skills.”

Today, Starwood employs many Cornell School of Hotel Administration alumni in its corporate and divisional offices, as well as in its nearly 1,000 best-in-class hotels around the world. Among them is 1983 graduate Simon Turner, who is President of Global Development for Starwood and an active member of the Dean?s Advisory Board.

?The Leadership Development Program has established a benchmark of excellence that we at Starwood recognize as a valuable professional supplement to Cornell?s fine academic program,” said Turner. ?Many of us at Starwood have enjoyed a long association with Cornell and are delighted to have the opportunity to further foster this relationship in a more formal way. We consider an investment in these current Cornell students to be an excellent investment in Starwood?s future.”

Affinia Manhattan Named the Official Hotel for Macy?s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Locals and travelers alike flock to New York City during Thanksgiving, as it the home of the iconic symbol of the November holiday: The Macy?s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With low outdoor temperatures and gigantic crowds, many visitors opt to get a hotel room in close proximity to experience the Parade.

The Affinia Manhattan, a suite hotel at the center of it all, is proud to announce that it has been named the official hotel for this year?s legendary Macy?s Thanksgiving Day Parade, taking place on November 26, 2009. In honor of the Parade, the Affinia Manhattan, which will be fully decked out with Parade-inspired balloons on its distinguished dazzling marquee, will offer easy access to the Parade route to all patrons in town for this renowned event.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, a three-hour event organized by the famous Macy’s department store, starts at 77th Street and Central Park West and ends just past the Macy’s flagship store, at Herald Square on 7th Avenue. Like years past, this remarkable event will feature resplendent floats, giant balloons, and live musical performances including the famous dancing Radio City Rockettes.

?It is an honor to partner with such a New York City staple,” says the hotel?s General Manager, Steven Kipnis. ?The Affinia Manhattan, located just three short blocks from Macy?s at Herald Square, is an ideal hotel for guests looking to get prime access to the Parade as part of the full New York City experience.”

In an effort to enhance its visitors? stay, the Affinia Manhattan has put together a variety of Experience Kits designed to help guests explore, enjoy, and learn about the city while in town for Thanksgiving. Guests of the hotel can also access the hotel?s Metro Concierge, armed with expertise and further access to New York City tickets, tours, dining, and transportation.

For further details, please visit the Affinia Manhattan website at www.affinia.com or call 212.563.1800.

ABOUT THE AFFINIA MANHATTAN
The Affinia Manhattan is a boutique hotel situated among some of the most exciting attractions New York City has to offer, just steps away from Madison Square Garden, the Broadway Theater District, Times Square, Penn Station, Macy?s, and more. Located at the crossroads of Manhattan, the Affinia Manhattan provides a front-row seat to the energy, activity, and culture in the heart of the city. Comfort is of the utmost importance to the Affinia Manhattan, from the spacious suites to the luxurious Affinia Bed. Amenities further include a six-choice Dream Pillows menu, wireless and high-speed internet access, Aveda bath products, and a vast selection from the coveted My Affinia menu, which boasts everything from cupcakes to an Ibanez Guitar, offering custom comforts that make your stay uniquely yours.

Kimpton And The Nature Conservancy Partner To Plant A Billion Trees

Pioneering Boutique Hotel Company Makes International Commitment to Environmental Preservation

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, the largest and leading boutique hotel company in the U.S., has announced a national partnership with The Nature Conservancy to support its ambitious Plant a Billion Trees campaign. Once completed, the campaign will remove 10 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, reducing the impact of climate change on biodiversity and human communities, and ensuring that 30 million acres of Brazil?s Atlantic Forest are restored or preserved by 2015. Kimpton will help grow a greener future and play a vital role in bringing life back to the most threatened tropical forest on Earth in the following ways:

? ?Giving Tree” rate code: Starting now, travelers can book the ?TNC” rate code at any Kimpton hotel to receive 10 percent off the best available rate. With each stay, Kimpton will give $10 to The Nature Conservancy, which will provide for the planting of 10 trees in Brazil?s Atlantic Forest.

? Natura? water sales: Five percent of the proceeds from sales of Natura? purified water at Kimpton restaurants in most locations* and an additional contribution from Natura?, will go to The Nature Conservancy

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?The mission of this campaign is both ambitious and achievable. Every dollar that we?re able to donate to The Nature Conservancy brings us one step closer to a sustainable planet, which has been a guiding principle of our brand since Kimpton was founded in 1981,” said Niki Leondakis, chief operating officer, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. ?The Nature Conservancy has demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to preserving the Earth?s precious natural habitats and we are proud to be a part of this important quest.”

?The Atlantic Forest is one of the greatest repositories of biological diversity on Earth, but it is now widely considered the world?s most endangered tropical forest,” said Amy Golden, Chief Conservation Operating Officer for The Nature Conservancy. ?We are pleased to partner with Kimpton to bring this forest back from the brink and rebuild it, one tree at a time.”

Extending along the coast of Brazil, the Atlantic Forest is a biodiversity hotspot that once covered nearly 330 million acres. Today, a mere seven percent remains.

The Atlantic Forest is home to a remarkable array of wildlife, many of which cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. It is also a critical source of drinking water and hydro-electric energy for more than 120 million people, making its preservation a global conservation priority.

In addition to Kimpton?s partnership with The Nature Conservancy, it is a longstanding partner of national charities including The Trust for Public Land and Dress for Success. Through its annual Red Ribbon campaign, Kimpton hosts annual fundraising events that benefit HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness organizations in cities where Kimpton hotels operate. Kimpton?s sustainable initiatives date back to the company?s inception in 1981 and today comprise more than 70 daily eco-practices as part of its pioneering EarthCare program, which include several industry firsts such as in-room recycling bins and the use of non-toxic cleaners brand-wide.

For additional information about EarthCare, or to book the ?TNC” rate code, please visit www.KimptonHotels.com. Kimpton is on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Kimpton, and can be found on Facebook by searching ?Kimpton” at Facebook.com and looking for the goldfish icon.

The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club In Southwest Florida Completes Multi-Million Dollar Remodeling Of All Guest Rooms & Suites

NAPLES, FL (November 2009) ? The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Southwest Florida has completed a multi-million dollar remodeling of all 319 guest rooms and suites. The resort also is nearing completion of its $5 million all-new pool complex, which will be complete by mid-December 2009. The resort features 34,000 square feet of meeting space, many beautiful outdoor venues, and is Southwest Florida?s only resort directly on the beach with an on-site championship golf course, a world-class spa, and an award-winning tennis center.

The resort has completed a dramatic remodeling and renovation of all 319 guest rooms and suites. The first phase of this multi-million dollar guest room project, which was completed in January 2008, included new bedding and fabrics, flat-panel televisions, rich new furnishings, and accents in calming tropical shades. This second (and final) phase of this project included totally-remodeled bathrooms in all guest rooms and suites, new carpet in all guest rooms and guest room corridors, and new sliding glass doors in guest rooms and suites.

The totally-remodeled bathrooms in the guest rooms and suites are larger, with a sizeable new walk-in glass-enclosed shower with striking sea-blue tile. The newly-remodeled bathrooms now feature new double sinks, spacious new vanities, beautiful new tile floors, new fixtures, and vanity mirrors. In addition, another vanity outside of the bathroom (complete with a sink, a large mirror, a vanity mirror, and towels) has been added so that another person can get ready while the bathroom is in use. This remodeling of the bathrooms kicked off in November 2008, and was done in phases so as not to adversely affect guests or groups.

?The resort has invested more than $16 million on our guest rooms and suites since 2007, and more than $55 million on enhancements to our resort since 2000,” said Jim Gunderson, general manager of the resort. ?We made these investments to ensure we?re providing an exceptional experience to all of our groups and guests. With all of these impressive enhancements, it really is like a new resort.”

In addition, the resort is nearing completion of its all-new pool complex. The new, much larger, beachfront pool complex is just north of the existing pool area, and features two pools (a free-form pool for families, and a secluded oval-shaped pool for adults), whereas the existing area features just one pool. The area also features two new whirlpools, with one located by the family pool, and the other by the adult pool. There also are eight new cabanas that may be reserved, which provide views of both the pool and the Gulf. The $5 million pool project also includes new restrooms, new locker facilities, a pool bar with food service, and a new pool shop. Picturesque tall palms encircle this new large pool area, and there is easy access for guests to walk right onto the beach.

The pool project began in July 2009, and will be complete by mid-December 2009. The existing beachfront pool will remain open until the new pool complex is complete.

?Groups, meeting planners, and guests will just love this new pool complex,” said Gunderson. ?Not only is it much larger, with the option of two different pools, and two whirlpools, but it also provides a much better view of the beach than the existing pool area provides.”

A consistent recipient of many of the meetings industry?s highest honors, the resort features 34,000 square feet of meeting space, and many scenic outdoor venues for meetings and receptions. The 22,000 square feet of meeting space in The Clubhouse provides an impressive view overlooking the resort?s championship golf course. Meeting rooms include the 6,283-square-foot River of Grass Ballroom, which can accommodate over 650 for receptions, and the 2,457-square-foot Mangrove Ballroom.

Standard offerings in rooms and suites include a private balcony or patio, with a view of the Gulf, lush grounds, or picturesque golf course. Standard amenities include in-room refrigerator, two telephones with voicemail, modem access, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, in-room safe, in-room coffee, climate control, and security keycards. High-speed wireless Internet access is also available.

Owned and operated by the Watkins family for more than 60 years, the resort features an enviable beachfront location in the heart of scenic Olde Naples. Recreational offerings at the 125-acre resort include: 1,000 feet of pristine white-sand beach on the Gulf of Mexico; an on-site par 72 championship golf course; a world-class Spa; complete Fitness Center; the Mary C. Watkins Tennis Center with six Har-Tru courts; Beach Klub 4 Kids, a recreational program for children ages five to 12; and an Orchid House, home to over 3,000 tropical plants.

In addition, guests can take advantage of multiple great restaurants, including the beachfront HB?s on the Gulf, the Gulf-view Everglades Room, and the Seminole Store that serves deli sandwiches, ice cream, gourmet coffees, pizza, pastries and desserts. The resort also features three bars, including the popular Sunset Beach Bar, consistently named ?Best Place To View A Southwest Florida Sunset.”

The resort is just blocks from Naples? renowned shopping districts of fashionable 5th Avenue South and historic 3rd Street South. Venetian Village, Waterside Shops, Bayfront and Tin City are minutes away.

Groups can experience the area by taking tours of the Everglades, Caribbean Gardens, or the Conservancy Nature Center. In addition, boat and fishing trips can be arranged at the hotel. Other leisure time activities can include Naples? wonderful museums, theatres, and art galleries.

?Combine these new offerings at the resort with the fact that The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has everything on-site ? the beach, golf, tennis, our world-class spa, great meeting space, and beautiful outdoor Gulf-front venues ? and it is an ideal site for groups and guests,” added Gunderson.

The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is located at 851 Gulf Shore Blvd. North. For information, call the resort?s Group Sales department at (800) 866-1946 or (239) 261-2222, or visit www.NaplesBeachHotel.com .

Re-Group Your Group…On the Coast with the Most

Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Cambria is truly California?s Central Coast. Yet despite its front-row seat to Pacific vistas along famed Highway 1 and its proximity to Hearst Castle, many visitors drive right past?unaware of this idyllic destination.

Cambria, CA? The unbeaten path beckons groups to Cambria, California, where a blend of village quietude, modern amenities and coastal recreation offers the ideal place to recharge.

Cambria, which was named one of ?America?s Prettiest Towns” in the October 2009 on-line edition of ForbesTraveler.com magazine, is a 35-minute drive from San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, 15 minutes to the gate of the Paso Robles Wine Country, and 10 minutes south of the famous Hearst Castle.

Visitors to this small village are out of luck if they seek fast-food chains, strip malls or even a movie theater?but they will easily find ocean-view sunsets, walking trails, sophisticated dining, artisan shops, nearby wineries, and the rustic elegance of historic Cambria Pines Lodge.

Perched above the village, amid a dramatic backdrop of pine-studded knolls, the lodge is an ideal setting for group meetings and events. As the largest meeting facility in the area, the lodge comfortably accommodates anywhere from 10 to 300 guests.

Here, groups find everything they need amid the 26-acre property, which also features spa services, a pool and jacuzzi, a sand volleyball court, and a wealth of lodging options from rustic cabins to luxury suites. Particularly unique about the lodge are its five acres of themed gardens, which include an organic kitchen garden that serves the lodge?s on-site restaurant. After meeting hours the lodge provides free live entertainment 7 days a week in their Fireside Lounge featuring karaoke every Thursday evening.

Cambria Pines Lodge also offers a number of stunning group meeting and event space. Its 6,900 square feet of indoor meeting space includes large formal rooms as well as more intimate banquet and meeting rooms. All of which are ideal for corporate retreats, sales meetings, training and team-building sessions, religious retreats, association meetings, exhibitions, and all social occasions such as weddings, family reunions and private events. Meanwhile, the Lodge?s 10,000 square feet of outdoor space can be ideally utilized for vendor displays, breakout areas, or weddings.

The lodge?s on-site catering and full-service menus can compliment any occasion. A complete range of conference equipment including LCD projectors, screens, overhead projectors, flipcharts, complimentary high-speed Internet access and more is available.

Yet for all of its natural restfulness, Cambria Pines Lodge is also close to a variety of exciting off-site experiences. Within walking distance of the lodge, Cambria?s specialty shops, restaurants, garden nurseries, antique stores and bakeries invite visitors to casually meander around the town.

A wealth of recreation is also at hand with nearby coastal hiking trails and opportunities for biking, kayaking, surfing, diving and horseback riding. Travel 20 minutes up Hwy. 1 to Piedras Blancas lighthouse, which overlooks a rare breeding ground for massive elephant seals. The seals, which weigh up to 5,000 pounds, can be viewed from the bluffs.

While there is so much to see and do in Cambria, it is also the perfect place to seek inspiration. After all, few places make it so easy.

For more information on booking your next group event, please contact Cambria Pines Lodge at (800) 966-6490 ext. 2231, or visit www.cambriapineslodge.com.

AH&LA Announces Green Guidelines Challenge Winners

Hoteliers Challenged to Use Association Guidelines to Benchmark Eco-friendly Operations and ROI, Win Green Products

Washington, D.C., November 2009 ? Out of a group of more than 200 hoteliers who accepted the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) Green Guidelines Challenge, the Hilton Americas-Houston, Houston, Texas, was named the winner of this national initiative. Runners-up include the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, in Avon, Colorado; the Doubletree Hotel Burlington in South Burlington, Vermont; the Embassy Suites Chevy Chase Pavilion in Washington, D.C.; and the Westin Seattle in Seattle, Washington.

Notable in its selection, the Hilton Americas-Houston is the first Green Seal hotel in the state of Texas, and implemented a robust recycling program with 154 tons of food waste that is composted at Nature?s Way and a comprehensive environmental awareness program that includes employees and guests.

The announcement was made at the AH&LA board of directors meeting in New York City on Sunday, November 9. The Hilton Americas-Houston also received a certificate of achievement and a green prize package from HD Supply and Audubon International.

The Challenge launched on Earth Day (April 22) urged hoteliers across the country to track and improve their green business operations by taking the AH&LA Green Guidelines Challenge via a tracking tool to aid their measurement of occupancy statistics, monetary and energy expenditures, and return on investment (ROI) from specific green practices.

Overall savings include:

-An average 200-room hotel that implemented the guidelines will have annual utility cost savings of $84,000.

-The average savings for those hotels that have taken the Green Challenge will have cost savings of $56,000.

-In total, the annual savings for all hotels that have implemented the guidelines is $5,600,000.

-Reduced annual CO2 emissions by 39,200 metric tons which is equivalent to:

oTaking 7,000 cars off the road for one year.
oOffsetting annual electricity consumption of more than 5,110 homes.

Of the 11 guidelines, of note:

-90% of the hotels taking the challenge have replaced incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps wherever possible.

-87% of the hotels taking the challenge have implemented a towel and/or linen reuse program.

-84.5% of the hotels taking the challenge are managing their hotel?s environmental performance by monitoring the electric, gas, water, and waste usage information on a monthly and annual basis.

-83.5% of the hotels taking the challenge have implemented a recycling program.

-75.5% of the hotels taking the challenge have formed an Environmental Committee.

-75.5% of the hotels taking the challenge have installed 2.5-gallons per minute showerheads or less in all guestroom baths and any employee shower areas.

?The industry?s positive response to the AH&LA Green Guidelines, launched a year ago, has been just tremendous,? said AH&LA Chairman Joe Martin, owner of Stillwater Hospitality in Stillwater, Oklahoma. ?With so many worthy participants, we had a lot of factors to consider, but these properties stood out for their innovation, impressive results, and maverick approach.”

Hoteliers who completed the challenge received a certificate of completion that identifies their hotels as eco-friendly establishments based on benchmarking their operation procedures against AH&LA?s 11 minimum green guidelines. Selected success stories from the Green Guidelines Challenge are featured on AH&LA?s Website as new Green Best Practices, as well as more than 50 additional guidelines are available on the AH&LA Green Resource Center Website. To assist in the greening process, AH&LA members can ask operations questions directly to AH&LA?s Green Guru.

Holiday Boat Parade of Lights Celebrates a Decade as an Alexandria Tradition

Potomac River Parade Remains a Fixture of Holiday Season Events

ALEXANDRIA, VA (November 11, 2009) ? Discover again?or for the first time?the wonder and joy of holidays traditions in Alexandria with the 10th annual Burke & Herbert Holiday Boat Parade of Lights.

On Saturday, December 5, from 6-7 p.m., Alexandria’s harbor will sparkle when 50 brightly lit powerboats and sailboats led by the Vigilant, Alexandria?s fireboat, will parade down the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., to Alexandria fully decked out in lights and holiday d?cor.

?Celebrating the holidays by bundling up and coming down docks for the Boat Parade of Lights is a great, must-do holiday tradition,” said Stephanie Brown, Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association president and CEO. ?Cheering for favorites among the fleet of decorated boats is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. It?s a parade like no other in the area.”

Santa Claus will arrive by fireboat to kick off the evening festivities at 4 p.m. at the Alexandria Marina (One Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA 22314). Kids and dogs will be able to sit on Santa?s lap and get their picture taken for free. The Braddock Brass Quintet and the Bells of Mount Vernon, a hand bell choir from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will headline the live music entertainment.

WTOP?s Man About Town, Bob Madigan, will be the emcee and celebrity host of the boat parade. Boaters will compete for prizes in categories such as ?Best in Show,” ?Best Thinking Outside the Christmas Box” and ?Hardiest Souls.”

The parade culminates an entire day of holiday festivities throughout Old Town Alexandria. The Scottish Christmas Walk starts the day with parading Scottie dogs, bagpipers and 100 Scottish clans from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The fun continues throughout the afternoon: take the kids for ornament decorating at Alexandria Archaeology, from 1 to 4 p.m. and the adults to the tour the lavishly decorated homes of the Campagna Center?s Holiday Designer Tour of Homes, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., throughout Old Town.

Continue the celebration throughout the season in Alexandria with holiday tree lightings, candlelight tours, ornament workshops, parades and more. Check out the Alexandria event calendar at http://VisitAlexandriaVA.com/About-Alexandria/Holiday-Events-in-Alexandria and see why HGTV named Alexandria as one of the ?Top 10 Christmas Towns.”

Media Contact:
Merrie Morris, mmorris@VisitAlexVA.com or (703) 746-3306
Emily Hellewell, ehellewell@VisitAlexVA.com or (703) 746-3309

About Alexandria
Located within eyesight of and five miles from Washington, DC, is charming Alexandria, VA, with a variety of critically acclaimed restaurants; a boutique district featuring designer clothes, shoes, antiques and home decor; a thriving art scene; a variety of hotels; and hundreds of years of American history among 18th and 19th century architecture.

Mingle360 Enables Dulles (Va.) Chamber of Commerce To Secure Leads and Contacts on MingleSticks

Chamber Members ?Mingle” at Fall Networking Event

Fairfax, VA – November 11, 2009 – Mingle360 (www.mingle360.com) is supporting the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce – one of the fastest growing Chambers in the Washington, DC region – with a powerful networking tool called the MingleStick (www.minglestick.com). Chamber Members simply ?point and click” to connect with other attendees and event sponsors. The MingleStick uses patent-pending wireless technology for creating real-world connections that can be viewed online after the event.

When two event attendees click with their MingleSticks, a connection is automatically made. The MingleStick lights-up ?green”, giving members and Chamber Staff more time to spend on important conversations with potential customers. Immediately following the event, attendees can review their leads within an online ?address book?, containing contact information and profile pictures for facial recognition. The Chamber Members keep the MingleStick and return home to upload their sales leads and connections via a USB port on their computer.

Eileen Curtis, President and CEO of the Dulles Chamber, has been an ?early adopter” of new technologies. Curtis said: ?We at the Dulles Chamber are so excited to be the first Chamber in the country to embrace the newest networking technology from Mingle360.” She added that at the fall Chamber event, ?the MingleStick debuted recently and quickly became a ?happening? as members clicked their way into each other?s network. We expect to have extraordinary success with this wonderful new tool.”

Curtis and her membership development team initially ordered 250 MingleSticks. Because of competitive pricing, the Dulles Chamber is likely to purchase additional devices that members may take home. Mingle360 provides its networking solution to business networking events as well as tradeshows, conventions, and social events. The MingleStick technology was most recently deployed at the Jiffy Lube International tradeshow, the Northeast Regional Carwash Convention, and the TS2 Trade Show.

“We believe the MingleStick revolutionizes the meetings industry,” said Dan Coffing, CEO of Mingle360. “Our next-generation lead retrieval and networking solution enables attendees to connect with each other with a simple click of a button.” He said attendees appreciate the experience without the need for business card exchange. ?Connections are made within a split second and the MingleStick is undoubtedly a great conversation starter for everyone involved.”

The hardware devices are significantly less expensive than traditional lead retrieval systems and produce more effective results. Bradley Blinn, VP of Marketing with Mingle360, noted: “We are happy to partner with the Dulles Regional Chamber to bring our MingleStick technology into more intimate meeting settings like chamber functions. We are expanding to affinity groups like professional societies, women?s business groups, and other meetings,” he said.

In 2009, Mingle360 received Trade Show Executive?s 2009 Innovation Award and Government Technology Research Alliance (GTRA) Symposium?s Best Live Demonstration Award. Mingle360 may be reached at 703-425-0402.

About Mingle360

Offered as a service to event organizers, the Mingle360 solution, comprised of its MingleStick and MingleStation product, greatly enhance attendee networking at an event, surpassing business cards with up to date contact information and profile pictures for facial recognition. It creates ‘buzz’ and excitement at an event and helps differentiate an organization from the competition. For more information, please contact Mingle360 at 703-425-0402 or visit www.mingle360.com.

About the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce is a business membership organization that exists to promote and facilitate the success of businesses and the communities they serve through networking, workforce development, outreach, and advocacy. We present over 300 events and preside over dynamic committees, including Environment, Education, Membership, Gala, Ambassadors, Marketing, Workforce, Asian, Outreach, Health & Wellness, Technology, Economic Development, Hispanic, Government Contracting, and Public Policy.

Our Chamber serves businesses in western Fairfax and eastern Loudoun Counties, including the Town of Herndon, the area around Dulles Airport, Sterling, Chantilly, Centreville and South Riding. The Chamber serves one of the nation?s foremost high-tech corridors and acts as a resource, public affairs advocate and community partner for 1,000 businesses and affiliates. Underneath the Dulles Chamber?s umbrella organization, we also do business as the Herndon Chamber of Commerce and the Chantilly-Centreville Chamber of Commerce. A member of our chamber is actually a member of three chambers.

The Chamber has consistently been a strong supporter of transportation, including the Rail to Dulles Project, helping lead the fight when the FTA threatened to kill the project back in 2007. With the last census revealing that our region?s population had undergone a multicultural explosion, the Chamber turned its attention to this area with several multicultural summits, followed by the founding of an Hispanic, and later Asian, Committee, and helping with ESOL programs to help the new members of the community better their English language skills. In the area of education, the Chamber partners with six area high schools, providing mentoring, job fairs, ethics days and financial literacy training to the students. As a workforce chamber, it has created the Dulles Corporate College to enhance professional development opportunities. As a strong early adapter of environmental upgrades in the workplace, it hosted a 2008 Presidential campaign on the environment, with surrogates Governor Kaine and former Governor Allen. And as a proponent of corporate involvement in wellness for its employees, it recently hosted a Healthcare Reform luncheon to help educate members and the public on the facts. And on the economic development front, the Chamber is actively branding the Dulles Region. While the Dulles Region is currently the breadbasket of the entire Commonwealth, it has never been recognized as a discrete force, due to the fact that it lies in two different political jurisdictions. The Chamber hired Dr. Stephen Fuller of George Mason University to provide the Dulles Region with a new set of demographic statistics.

The Chamber began its existence in 1959 as the Herndon Chamber of Commerce. In its early years it involved itself with community efforts such as inaugurating a golf course and a parks and rec center for the Town, along with help developing business for the new Dulles Airport. In the 1990?s, the Town of Herndon became birthplace to the commercial internet and transformed the business environment of the area to accommodate a tremendous high-tech boom. In 2000 the chamber merged with the Dulles Area Chamber of Commerce to become the Herndon Dulles Chamber. In 2007 it took as its new name the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce and added a permanent new office in Chantilly.