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Share your Insider tips about travel to Moscow by commenting on this post and you could earn points.


The city of Moscow, Russia is always booming with new events, activities, festivals, and creative ideas on how to pleasantly surprise its natives and dear guests. Below you’ll find a short summation of the capital’s main events for late spring and beginning of summer 2016. Keep them in mind when planning your next vacation! 

The month of May begins with the opening of “Port at VDNKh” on May 1st, a sports and entertainment complex in Moscow’s amusement park and exhibition space. The new leisure facility has outdoor swimming pools, sun loungers, a Jacuzzi, volleyball courts, a children’s playground, table tennis, a restaurant and bars, and for those who enjoy dancing – an illuminated dance floor! The month continues with one of the country’s most important holidays – Victory Day on May 9th. On this day, some of the main streets of the city become closed off to allow for the Military Parade, which is watched by millions as it goes through the city. The servicemen, army vehicles, tanks, and air crafts are truly a sight to see and will make anyone appreciate the history of the event even more.


Also by May, all river cruises begin their tours around the Moskva River again. You can choose from a sightseeing tour, a cruise for food lovers, or a more active cruise – with dancing and karaoke at night. Whichever cruise you choose, you’ll be sure to enjoy the most famous sights and attractions from a boat with a slight breeze. And if you’re lucky, you’ll even get to watch the sunset over the Moscow skyline. And it goes without saying that on May 6th the 2016 IIHF World Championship will begin at the VTB Ice Palace (Park of Legends), located one metro stop away from the Courtyard by Marriott Paveletskaya Hotel. The games will continue until May 22nd, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance if you want to root for your favorite team in the arena.


June will begin with pleasant news for fans of eating outdoors. The Krasny Oktyabr Chocolate Factory and Museum will become home to Moscow’s first outdoors food court. Dishes from different countries will be presented to the public, and for those who prefer entertainment with the meal there will be game, chill-out, sports, and concert zones.  Next, comes Russia Day on June 12th – a truly cultural experience. On this day, citizens demonstrate their national pride with concerts throughout the city and a fantastic show of fireworks, which can be seen from the embankments of the city and in most other public places such as parks. The Red Square, located 10 minutes walking distance from the Courtyard by Marriott Moscow City Center hotel, will have one of the best fireworks shows of all.


In general, spring and summer are the perfect time to take long walks through the city and explore its mix of historical and modern locations. As you take in the scents of the blooming lilac trees, you’ll realize that the city is filled with numerous beautiful fountains throughout parks, squares, and popular attractions. A dancing fountain in Tsaristyno Park, in front of the Bolshoi Theater near the Red Square, and the famous bright red fountains on the Poklonnaya Gora Memorial are just some of the many fountains you’ll get to see while exploring the city. And at night, they’re even more magical!  


Ekaterina Z.

Courtyard Moscow Paveletskaya

Courtyard Moscow City Center

Hey Insiders, a big thank-you to everyone who participated in our Elite Stories feature! We’re excited about the 932 stories you posted from December through March. Here are some of the recurring themes – it’s great to know you especially appreciate Elite service that:

  • Helps members feel at home away from home, from Orlando to Shanghai
  • Makes difficulties easier, whether stranded at an airport or recovering from a broken heart
  • Surprises you with a delightful extra, whether a culinary treat or a special discount


Each month, everyone who posted a story was entered in our monthly drawing. Here are the winners:


March: Platinum member sduganMade Me Look Like a Big Shot!

February: Platinum member waterpoloxxAn unforgettable Stay in Sanya Renaissance Hotel

January: Platinum member dobbie1Staying in Paris on Points

December: Silver member dakins68Marriott Courtyard at 35  Foxboro Blvd in Foxborough,  ME is AWESOME!


You can view more stories here: Elite Stories


And kudos to the hotel that delivered the best Elite service during the period from December through March: The Renaissance Sanya Resort & Spa


Be watching for our next Elite feature, coming soon – with more opportunities to share and more chances to win.


Mom’s special. Let her know. Use points to shop for jewelry, watches, gift cards and more. You can browse top names from Michael Kors to Swarovski in the U.S. – and leading brands worldwide.

  Shop with points »




Say “I love you, Mom with a gift that’s

just her style – and earn points too. An

FTD bouquet, Macy’s fashions, REI gear …

with choices from Athleta to Zales, it’s a

smart idea. Mom would approve.

Earn points at top retailers (U.S. only) »


Share your Insider travel adventures to the French Riviera by commenting on this post and you could earn points.


Jewels of the French Riviera, the Lérins Islands are the maritime history and spiritual icons of Cannes. Sainte Marguerite is the first of the Lérins Islands, just a few minutes by boat from Cannes. It is an exceptional island where nature, culture and relaxation join in total harmony. As soon as you disembark, you will be captivated by the fragrance of pine and eucalyptus. Almost entirely covered with a forest of Aleppo pines and green oaks, the island also retains a few historical relics in the Royal Fort, which today houses the Sea Museum.

Famous since the Middle Ages for the spiritual influence of its abbey, Saint-Honorat is the smaller of the two largest Lérins Islands. Inhabited by a community of Cistercian monks, it lives in the rhythm of the seasons. Here are a few things you can do there:

  • Follow the marked trails that take you on a botanical and historical tour of the site.
  • Stroll by the Batéguier pond with its numerous species of migratory birds to the “Point de la Convention” to find unique plant species.
  • Discover a spiritual place founded in the 5th century: Lérins Abbey, with its seven chapels and ruins from the past, runs guided tours as well as wine and liqueur tastings.
  • Continue on to the “Fort Royal”, which was used as a prison from the 17th century, the former residence of the Man in the Iron Mask.
  • Discover the Maritime Museum, a museum of archeological finds from the area.

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For lovers of pure relaxation Sainte-Marguerite Island is really is not to be missed. One option is to rent a private boat and explore the Islands by the sea. Discover the hidden beaches and find your secret paradise.... and then share with us your experience of this unique getaway! Guided tours are also available, so just ask our concierge here at the JW Marriott Cannes.


Cecile L.

JW Marriott Cannes


Talk about a fast getaway — now you can use your points to rent cars online at 30,000+ locations in 176 countries. Think top-name companies, easy searching and locations from Orlando to Tokyo.


It’s part of our Air + Car service, enhanced just in time for your next trip. Search for flights, cars or both!


Find locations >>


Insiders, we’re excited to give you a preview of our latest benefits – three ways to help make travel more personal, seamless and focused on what you love. Be watching for these in May:

Experiences Marketplace

Beginning in late May, use your points to purchase curated experiences and one-of-a-kind opportunities for discovery — across four categories, including sports, culinary, entertainment and lifestyle.

Elite Concierge Service

Starting in late May, we’ll pair an initial group of Elite members with an Elite concierge who will offer seamless service — anticipating personal preferences, reserving on-property amenities like dining, spa and golf, and making arrangements for special occasions. We’ll use feedback from this early group of “charter members” to help us refine the program for improvement.

Guaranteed Late Checkout

The guaranteed late checkout benefit will be available to Gold and Platinum Elite members of both Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards who will enjoy a more seamless travel experience when planning their trip. These members will receive a guaranteed late checkout, which could be as late as 4pm. Members can request the late checkout when making a reservation by phone, when checking in using the Marriott Mobile app, or upon arrival at the hotel. This benefit is available at all fully participating Marriott Rewards hotels with the exclusion of resorts, convention hotels and Marriott Vacation Club. Marriott Rewards and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards will continue to offer Silver Elite members the benefit of requesting late checkout on their day of departure. Guaranteed late checkout launches globally on May 16.


Learn more about these new benefits >>

Calling all Windows 10 users! Marriott has partnered with Microsoft to launch the first travel app on the Universal Windows Platform that features integration with Cortana and People Hub. That means you can now ask Cortana to join Marriott Rewards, view your Upcoming Reservations, search hotels nearby and many other commands on your Windows 10 PC, tablet or phone.

Also, when looking through upcoming reservations, add them to your People Hub or calendar and make cancellations. The redesigned app aims to make travel easier than ever with bookings available at over 4,000 hotels and resorts in 70 countries and 16 brands. Also, the app offers Mobile Check-In and Check-Out for travelers on-the-go.


If you need to book a room or want to review existing bookings, download the Marriott Mobile app and give it whirl. You can start by asking your personal assistant, Cortana to go to “Find Hotel” or “My Reservations” or “My Rewards.”



Share your Insider stories about travel to Zurich by commenting on this post and you could earn points.


Other than the natives of Zurich, only a few people know that the art movement Dada was founded in the old town of Zurich by Hugo Ball and his companion Emmy Hennings. This movement got its start in 1916, in Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire, which is now open to the public again. On the occasion of the Dada jubilee, nightly soirées take place here. A big part of the city will join the year-long exhibition in 2016, when a series of events will chart the birth and growth of the movement. The national museum of Zurich, the Kunsthaus Zurich, as well as the museum Rietberg and the museum Haus  Konstruktiv are only a few of the participating exhibitors who will shed light on the Dadaist legacy from various perspectives.


The Dada movement itself is difficult to define. Dadaism was a form of artistic anarchy born out of disgust for the social, political and cultural values of the time. It embraced elements of art, music, poetry, theatre, dance and politics. Allegedly, the word Dada was picked at random from a French dictionary and means “hobbyhorse”. The guided tour of Dada shows how the first performance artists and slam poets made their way to Zurich and how they lived; these two-hour private tours can be booked daily all year round.


The Zurich Marriott Hotel is within walking distance to most of the event locations. We hope you’ll be able to visit some of the exhibitions this year, and we would love to welcome you at the Zurich Marriott Hotel.


Corinne Z.

Zurich Marriott Hotel

Insiders, we wanted you to be one of the first to see this exciting announcement from Marriott International’s President & CEO, Arne Sorenson. Please see the letter below:


We’re excited to announce that we’ve secured shareholder approval for Marriott International to join together with Starwood Hotels & Resorts—a significant milestone towards creating the world’s largest lodging company and strongest loyalty program in the industry. Since we announced our plans to merge with Starwood, you’ve raised questions about the impact of the merger on your membership and the Marriott Rewards® program. I want to take this opportunity to provide an update on where we stand.


Serving our valued guests has always been our priority at Marriott, and your feedback is important to us as we collaborate with Starwood on the vision for our loyalty programs.


After we become one company, we expect to run parallel loyalty programs while we engage in the complicated work of integration. During this period, there is no change to how you manage your Marriott Rewards account or book reservations, and you will maintain your existing member benefits for some time.


The good news is that we have many possibilities ahead of us because Marriott and Starwood both have great loyalty programs. We intend to draw upon the very best of both Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) to provide even more value to our members.


Here are just a few of the future opportunities we’re excited about:


  • Giving our members access to our collective portfolio of 5,500 hotels and resorts in more than 100 countries.
  • Offering even more unique benefits to help members pursue their passions and greater opportunities for exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
  • Personalized and relevant service before, during and after the hotel stay.


In the meantime, we’re actively exploring ways to build bridges between the two programs to further enhance your experience.

Marriott remains committed to evolving our Marriott Rewards member benefits. Our recent announcement of Marriott Rewards Member Rates is the latest way we’re showing our loyalty to our members. These new rates are exclusively designed to reward members with the lowest rates available across our portfolio when booking directly on Marriott.com, our easy-to-use app, our call centers or through preferred corporate travel professionals.


We are grateful for your loyalty, and we are listening to you and taking your input into consideration. Our merger is on track to close midyear, and as we have more news to share, we’ll reach out to you. In the meantime, we will continue to provide you with the exceptional service and travel experience you have come to expect from us at Marriott. You can find the latest updates here and via Twitter (@marriottrewards), and as always, reach out to us through our hotels, at marriott.com, in our Marriott Rewards Insiders community, on the Marriott app or via our call centers.


Thank you for your continued loyalty, and happy traveling!


Arne Sorenson

President & CEO


Share your Insider stories about travel to Leipzig by commenting on this post and you could earn points.


It is under this banner that Leipzig Germany will be celebrating the 2016 Bach Festival. Since 1999 the Bach-Archive has been organizing the Bach Festival every year on behalf of the city of Leipzig, each time with a different theme. During the festival selected pieces by Johann Sebastian Bach are performed, while amazing organ trips in Central Germany are also included in the festival program. Each year there are about 100 individual events performed within the Bach Festival, including a concert under the direction of Thomas cantor as the opening performance. Johann Sebastian Bach himself was the “Thomaskantor”, Cantor of the St. Thomas school between 1723 and his death in 1750. The program for this year’s festival is again full with unique, first-class events and new features: for example, a “Cantata Day” will be premiered with works from Bach’s first year in Leipzig on June 18, 2016.


Leipzig has an international reputation as a city of music. Bach, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Robert Schumann and Richard Wagner all worked here, and music continues to be composed at places such as the New Gewandhaus, St. Thomas Church and the Opera house. We hope you will come discover and explore this vibrant metropolitan city of music, listen to the music of Bach, and visit the place where famous composers worked and lived on the Leipzig Music Trail (a 5km walk or 37 km cycle path). The Leipzig Marriott Hotel, directly located in the heart of the city center, is your perfect starting point to discover all these sights. During the Bach Festival 2016 enjoy the unique BACHatmosphere at the lobby of our hotel:  listen to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach in jazz, chill and other styles while enjoying some special BACHdeals, such as autograph signings with famous artists after selected concerts. We are looking forward to welcoming you!


Arlette K.

Leipzig Marriott Hotel


Insiders, Delta Hotels® is going international – and this is your exclusive invitation to join in the celebration! Meet brand executives, enjoy live music, food and fun while exploring the first U.S. Delta Hotel. The hotel is the closest non-Disney hotel to Walt Disney World Resort®. Delta travels the way you do: smart, focused and with an eye for the best places to be.


Thursday, April 21

Delta Orlando Lake Buena Vista


12490 S Apopka Vineland Road 

Orlando, Florida 32836




Share your Insider stories about travel to Madrid by commenting on this post and you could earn points.


Madrid, Spain is one of the most cosmopolitan and accessible cities in Europe, where everyone can truly feel like it is “home”. It is a place where you will be able to combine business, leisure and amazing culture, but especially it is a city where you can enjoy an excellent gastronomy. Knowing that it can sometimes be challenging for travelers to find a fantastic restaurant which meets their expectations, we want to share with you several great options clustered near each other at the Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel and Conference Center which is also very close to the Madrid’s city center and the Madrid - Barajas Airport (just 10 minutes away).

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  • The Greatroom, located at the main entrance of the Madrid Marriott Auditorium, is a modern and cozy area where you can enjoy a unique and dynamic experience, including excellent food.
  • Champion´s Bar is the perfect place for all of our sports lovers to gather for viewing all the best competitions; nine screens are available so you have the chance to watch several sport events at the same time.
  • The Atrium Bar, located at the center of the hotel, is one of the most comfortable spots for all of our guests to relax after a long day of meetings and events.
  • Kalma is an amazing à la carte restaurant perfect for all the Mediterranean cuisine lovers. The restaurant has been recently refurbished with special Mediterranean style decorations and ambiance, and offers a new menu as well.
  • The new Lounge Bar, situated on the mezzanine floor, is another perfect place to have some delicious food in a relaxing atmosphere after a long work day.


We hope you will come visit us and explore all the culinary options here at the Madrid Marriott Auditorium on your next visit to this exciting city.


Sergio G.

Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel & Conference Center

Say hello to your new Featured Insider: SeaTexan!


Insider since: November 18, 2015

Rewards Status: Gold



About Me:  I was born in Beaumont, Texas (yeehaw!) I spent much of my childhood there and in Galveston. I have no doubt this is where my love of the ocean and beach comes from.

I gradated in 2007 from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a degree in Interior Design.  Perkins + Will hired me right out of school and I moved to Houston. I passed the licencing exam a few years later and was then able to proudly call my self an Interior Designer. After some time in Houston, I got an offer at a smaller firm in Lafayette. It was a huge risk but I took the leap because life is an adventure! I have grown tremendously as professional and worked on a vast number of projects in all areas of design from start to finish. 

When not working I am planning my next outing, from weekend getaways to week long escapes.

I enjoy sharing and reading about travel experiences. These exchanges are a wealth of knowledge and make traveling easier!

Interests:  Travel, History, Art, Architecture, Theater, Soccer, Football, Pirates, Food, Wine, Gemstones, and Minerals

Fun Fact: I am left handed

Current Dream: travel through Europe via train

Thanks SeaTexan for your valuable travel insight! You have been a welcome addition to our Insiders community.

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Share your Insider tips about travel to Charleston by commenting on this post and you could earn points.


Known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants and mannerly people, Charleston South Carolina has been named the No. 1 US city by Travel + Leisure Magazine and most Hospitable City in America by Southern Living Magazine. Located in the heart of Charleston’s historic district, amid landmarks, shopping, and dining resides an extraordinary 50-room luxury boutique hotel, The Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston. Designed to celebrate creativity and captivate its guests, the hotel embodies a dramatic mix of original artwork, bold colors and eclectic style. Enriching luxuries include an on-site Grand Bohemian Gallery, wine blending room, and chef-crafted farm-to-table cuisine. Visitors will love the vibrant restaurant and rooftop terrace overlooking the charm of downtown Charleston.
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At the heart of Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston is a celebration of the artistic spirit. Grand Bohemian Charleston is home to a 1,100 square foot Grand Bohemian Gallery, showcasing stunning works of art; here exhibitions and artist receptions by local, regional, and internationally recognized artists are designed to inspire the collector in all of us. This visually stimulating art gallery has something for everyone, from paintings and sculptures to art glass and jewelry. Rare and original pieces of art are displayed in the awe-inspiring gallery, as well as throughout the hotel, ranging from oil paintings, glass, wood, contemporary jewelry, bronze sculptures and unique gift items.


Another unique amenity of Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston is Bohemian Wine Blending. Taste, learn, create, and blend a custom wine in an educational class led by a sommelier. Almost every wine is a blend: a blend of grapes, vineyards, special oak aging techniques, and more. This mysterious blending process is part of what makes wine so complex, interesting, and delicious. This educational experience includes an introduction and history of wine making, blending session, customized label creation and a bottle of your personal blend. At the Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston, you get to be the winemaker and experience the most exciting, romantic and creative aspects of the wine making process: BLENDING. We hope you will visit us here soon and enjoy this unique getaway in the heart of Charleston.


Tammy Y.

Grand Bohemian Hotel Charleston

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A getaway is more fun when you can pay for it any way you like — and you’ll have that flexibility when the NEW Cash + Points kicks in. 


Starting March 24, 2016, mix cash and points, for just one night or as long as you like, subject to availability — using as few as 3,000 points and $45 cash.


Learn more >>

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