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ENTRY_Water_Tower_2.jpgHave you traveled to Chicago before? Share your inside tips by commenting on this post and you could earn points! ...

 

Whether you are looking for a local stay-cation or an extended trip to Chicago, your days and nights can be filled to the maximum capacity if you choose. Chicago, the great windy city, is known for its beautiful architecture, reputable list of exquisite chefs, premier retail shopping, and countless opportunities for entertainment. There are places to explore in the Loop (financial district), Gold Coast (high end retail and dining), Streeterville (lakeside ambiance and shopping), and River North (dining and entertainment). To get the best of all downtown neighborhoods, the Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown in Streeterville is centrally located for all your excursions. Here, the Magnificent Mile is strategically situated and lined with numerous retail stores and restaurants. The hop on – hop off trolley is easily accessible, as well as, a short stroll to the beach.

 

If you are traveling to Chicago as a ‘foodie’ a must-hit location is the Meat Packing district. There, well-known chefs of all disciplines have the streets covered in fantastic dining experiences. A couple favorites are Girl and the Goat and Publican. Now, if you are traveling to Chicago, deep dish pizza is also a must-do. Two local favorites are Gino’s East Pizzeria, which features a cornmeal crust, and Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, a locally-developed restaurant chain which features a butter crust. No matter which is your pizza preference, you will be satisfied.

 

Along the Magnificent Mile, there are an abundance of national retail chains with extravagant store fronts, similar to what you would envision in New York City. However, Chicago is lucky to also have 3 malls, strategically situated on Michigan Avenue: The Shop at North Bridge, featuring Nordstrom, 900 North Michigan Shops, featuring Bloomingdales, and Water Tower Place, featuring Macy’s. Any national retail brand you can imagine is located on Michigan Avenue. If you are a fashionista looking for a boutique, head to Lincoln Park or Wicker Park. Those downtown neighborhoods have a wonderful mix of retail chains and beautiful boutiques to catch your eye.

 

ENTRY 2.jpgIn your spare time between shopping, dining, and taking in the cityscapes, you must enjoy a little Chicago entertainment. We are a fortunate city to host our own broadways shows in the theatre district. Other shows like, Blue Man Group and Million Dollar Quartet have been performing in Chicago for years in the surrounding neighborhoods, and have fantastic reviews. Another local favorite is the architecture boat cruises. They give you a view of the city by water and fill your brains with local tips, culture, and history. If you are looking for a skyline view at night, definitely head to the John Hancock Building’s, TILT. This gives you views miles from Chicago, include the beautiful shoreline. You can even catch a cocktail at the Signature room’s 95th floor to view the skyline and a beautiful, clear day. No matter what you choose to do in Chicago, you will have a wonderful experience. We hope to see you in Chicago soon.

 

Stefanie R.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile

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Have you traveled to Orlando before? Share your inside tips by commenting on this post and you could earn points! ...

 

Is it possible to exist in the eye of the excitement but still be enveloped in chic style and a peaceful ambiance? It is at Castle Hotel, a Bavarian castle-inspired Kessler Collection and Marriott Autograph hotel. Situated off world-famous International Drive, one of Orlando’s most visited areas, the Castle hotel was transformed in 2013 evoking an air of creativity and artistry for all who pass through the doors. With an amazing luxury full service spa, stylish meeting rooms, Antlers lounge and comfortable guestrooms, Castle Hotel is an unexpected and welcome retreat from the busy vibe of International Drive. Here you can dine in a rose garden overlooking a sparkling pool, sip a handcrafted cocktail in the plush lounge or view nightly theme park fireworks from the sky terrace.

 

Castle Hotel also has a prime location in the theme park capital of the world, providing plenty of options for family fun, quality time with friends or a romantic escape. International Drive and Mall at Millenia offer you a multitude of shopping, dining and nightlife opportunities. Theme Parks are only a few miles away via the hotel’s shuttle service to Walt Disney World®, Wet ‘n Wild®, Universal Studios®, Sea World®, Aquatica®, Downtown Disney® and Discovery Cove®. And don’t forget, the Orange County Convention Center is right down the road and Downtown Orlando is within ten miles. The Castle Hotel Grand Performers (staff) take great pride in anticipating our guests’ needs and truly making them feel special: we will immerse you in art, music, cuisine and culture, providing you and your family with special experiences. We hope you will stay with us soon!

 

Michele M.

Castle Hotel, Autograph Collection

Insiders,

 

Starting tomorrow (Friday, 5/22/15), we are adding a new twist to the Destination Spotlight posts. As a reminder, there is a new Destination Spotlight post most Fridays.


Leave a comment on the newest Destination Spotlight post, and you could earn 500 bonus points. Have you traveled to the destination being featured before? Leave an inside tip or your travel expertise and your comment could be selected to earn you an extra 500 points.


Haven’t traveled to the destination before but still want in on the action? Comment on the post with anything to do with the destination being featured and you’re still in the running.


Comments will be accepted for 7 days after the Destination Spotlight post goes live, so you have a full week to comment on the post.


I hope you enjoy this new addition to the Destination Spotlight posts, Insiders!

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Looking for a real break and a unique getaway? Sharm el Sheikh is one of the most popular holiday destinations located at the south end of the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. Come and enjoy year round sunshine, great beaches and a deep blue sea, coupled with the opportunity to experience a wide range of water sports and activities. Here you can experience great snorkeling and diving opportunities amongst thousands of sea creatures, all while exploring the amazing underwater reefs. The gorgeous natural bay, Naama Bay, is at the center of Sharm el Sheikh where most of the key attractions and adventures can be found.

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Our hotel, the Sharm El Sheikh Marriott, is located a pleasant stroll from all of these popular tourist attractions of Naama Bay where the resident craftsmen sell a variety of locally made goods. Here you can also find a selection of ubiquitous Pharonic statuettes. By night the town comes to life at the local restaurants and bars. We hope you will come visit us soon and enjoy the relaxation and culture to be found in the red sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh.

 

Bishoy A.

Sharm El Sheikh Marriott Resort

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Travel should inspire and delight. It should remind you that anything is possible. But for Ethan, an international business traveler, his trip to Paris has been all work, no inspiration.

 

Through magical realism that can only happen in Paris, Margaux, a beautiful Parisian woman, captures Ethan’s imagination with a string of clues, showing him the beauty of the city through her eyes.

 

The Marriott Content Studio and Marriott Hotels have teamed up to bring you French Kiss, the Content Studio’s second original short film. The film was shot around Paris and in the Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysees.

 

View the trailer below and visit the French Kiss website for behind the scenes clips. The film premieres on YouTube on May 19th, but you can also view it in-room or online at www.frenchkissfilm.com and Marriott.com. 

 


What do you think, Insiders? Will you watch French Kiss or was Two Bellmen more your speed?

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Want anything, anytime? Now you can chat with Marriott associates and make requests for amenities even before you arrive at select Marriott Hotels.

 

Using the new Mobile Requests option in the Marriott mobile app, choose from a list of services and amenities like the screen shot to the left, such as extra pillows or towels. Or, you can chat in real time with one of our associates for anything else you may need.

 

Make requests prior to your arrival, communicate during your stay and chat with our associates from anywhere.

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Insiders, would you use this Mobile Request feature? What could you see yourself using it for?

Learn more about Mobile Requests >>

Below are the 46 Marriott Hotels around the world where mobile request is currently available:

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Coming soon to more hotels!

Mobile Requests are currently available for iOS and Android devices.

Insiders,

 

Starting now through May 23rd, ShopMarriott is offering their best bed deal of the year: $750 off any size Marriott Bed! And, for a limited time, they'll also be offering 25% off sitewide. Sale ends May 23rd!


Visit ShopMarriott >>

 

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The Marriott mobile app is now available in the Microsoft Store for Windows Phone users.


The Marriott mobile app makes travel easier than ever with mobile check-in and check-out. Make reservations at over 4,000 hotels and resorts in 70 countries. Plus, you’ll earn Marriott Rewards points when booking your trip at thousands of properties around the world.


Other features include:

  • Mobile check-in and checkout are available at 12 brands across the world.
  • Enroll quickly in Marriott Rewards, save your preferences and enjoy exclusive benefits such as mobile Check-In and Checkout
  • Browse hotel photos, maps, city guides and amenities, or call a hotel (if supported by your device)
  • Make special requests for early check-in, extra pillows or towels, high or low floor, etc.
  • View upcoming reservations, add them to your calendar and make cancellations
  • Available in English, French, Spanish, German, and Chinese.

 

 

 

Insiders, do we have any Windows phone users out there? Download the app and let us know what you think! The Marriott mobile app is also available for the following devices: iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Android phone.






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Insiders - look who visited me at Marriott HQ last week!

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joshm, KatieC, melissaerb & communitymanager


I've worked with them for almost a year and finally got to meet them face to face! We talked all things Insiders and brainstormed some great community initiatives. More to come from us this summer!

BRIDGE FLAG.jpgNamed number one city in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row, Charleston South Carolina has become quite the destination for people all over the world. Once you have been here, you will understand why. Maybe it is the rich history you can explore in one of our many plantations or military attractions, or it could be the southern hospitality you experience with shopping or dining in some of the most popular spots downtown. It is a city like no other and truly makes for a great weekend or weeklong vacation.

Our waterfront hotel is moments from everything the area has to offer and provides transportation to and from the downtown area for a small fare. Enjoy spectacular accommodations with luxurious amenities in the heart of Charleston.

 

Insider tips on things to do:

Charleston is full of local plantations and rich history that will have you stepping back into a time that truly shaped this iconic city and set the course for how the U.S. steered the course to democracy and innovation. Boone Hall Plantation, the USS Yorktown and Fort Sumter are always on the top of the list of places to visit, places that give you a true understanding of how this city grew and how they helped shaped the course of a nation. There are many other stops like the Andrew Pinckney Home, H.L. Hunley, the downtown city market, the battery, and a favorite among the fashionistas - King Street shopping that will bring a sense of culture and contour to your visit. Many also enjoy ghost tours and carriage rides around town for more of a unique view on Charleston.

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When it comes to food in Charleston, we personally do not think there is any competition. From seafood at Hymans, Reds, or Fleets Landing, to delicious southern favorites at The Glass Onion, Husk, or Fig you will never go hungry or have one taste bud dissatisfied while you are here. Those are just a few of hundreds of places to satisfy any palate. The list of delicious places goes on for days, truly. Come experience the number one city in America, and enjoy great accommodations and true southern hospitality at the Courtyard Charleston Waterfront today.

 

Jason H.

Courtyard Charleston Waterfront


Insiders,

In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, May 10th, I wanted to share Alice Marriott’s story with you, or “Allie” as she was better known. Read on for a piece of Marriott history, as told by Bill Marriott himself; including some of Mrs. Marriott’s favorite recipes, perfect for Mother’s Day!

 

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“Mom graduated with honors from the University of Utah when she was 19 and married my Father the day after graduation.  That day they left for Washington in a Model T Ford.  It took them 11 days.  When they arrived in D.C., they went to work in the A&W, nine stool root beer stand.  When the weather got cold, they knew that people would stop drinking A&W Root Beer, so they decided to put food on the menu but the A&W franchise owners said, “No, we’re not in the restaurant business.”

 

So my Dad went to A&W headquarters in California and meanwhile Mom developed a contingency plan.  She discovered another popular root beer which would allow them to sell food.  It was the early days of carbonated drinks and the carbonation was added to the syrup just before the drink was served.  It was handled by a rather complex machine.  My Mom drew a design of the machine and talked to various manufacturers who said they could duplicate it at a far better price.  I think when Dad told A&W he had a viable contingency plan and was willing to give up his A&W franchise; they gave up on their end and allowed him to sell food.  Thus, he established the Hot Shoppe restaurants, which were the foundation of our company for the first 30 years of its existence.

 

My Mom was 20 years old when she developed the back-up plan which helped save the business.  In the summer of 1927, my Father had two root beer stands in D.C., one on 9th Street and the other on 14th Street.  My Mother ran the 14th Street root beer stand and when she closed the shop at 11:00 p.m., she would take the sticky nickels from the store and deposit them in the bank.  She would wait in front of the bank, at midnight, for Dad to pick her up on the way home from the 9th Street root beer stand which he was running.  One night, he arrived home and Mother wasn’t there.  He was so tired he forgot to pick her up.  I’m not sure she ever forgave him.  It was a frequent tale around our house when I was growing up.

 

When they embarked on their effort to add food to the root beer stand, they decided to sell hot dogs, hamburgers and Mexican food. Mom went to see the chef at the Mexican embassy and he showed her how to make chili and hot tamales. So, she became our first cook.  She prepared the food in her apartment and delivered it to the restaurant.

 

Throughout the years, Mom stayed very involved in the company.  She was very involved in our interior design especially.  When we were designing our third hotel in Dallas, Mom and I went to Los Angeles and met with the interior designers for a whole week. She really drove the entire process.  She was a major force behind every major decision and event in the company through the years.  She was an active member of our board for over 60 years.  She had a strong sense of value and a lot of determination but most people never saw it because of her quiet, thoughtful nature. 

Mother devoted her time to a number of civic, charitable and cultural endeavors as well as political activity.  She was an active Republican and served as the National Committee woman for D.C. for many years.  She was the treasurer of two Republican National Conventions.  She was a trustee of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington and served on the boards of the Arthritis Foundation, the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet Society, Goodwill Industries and many others.  In particular, she was a true caregiver to my Dad who suffered severe coronary artery disease the last 15 years of his life.

 

But, to me, she was my Mom. When I was struggling with arithmetic in the second grade, she bought a small black board and coached me through addition and subtraction and began on the multiplication tables. She was always there for me and my brother, Richard.  She was kind and always encouraging. She was a real role model of a devoted and caring mother.”

-Bill Marriott, Marriott on the Move, October 17, 2013. Read more.

 

Mrs. Marriott’s favorite recipes: See below for a few favorites, perfect for Mother’s Day!


 

Creamed Deviled EggsSmothered ChickenBrownies
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Recipes used with permission of Beth Schuster.

 

Insiders, what are you cooking up this Mother’s Day? How do you celebrate? Share your own traditions or recipes by commenting below!

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In March we announced the launch of Marriott Traveler New Orleans, a destination site featuring authentic travel stories and experiences written by local and global influencers (and razorbackfan!) passionate about where they live and where they travel.

 

I’m excited to announce the launch of two more cities for Traveler: Orlando and Chicago. These cities use the same philosophy as Traveler New Orleans and will provide valuable travel and lifestyle content to locals and tourists alike. New articles will be posted daily.

 

Marriott Traveler Orlando >>

Marriott Traveler Chicago >>


Insiders, do you have an upcoming trip to either of these popular destinations? Where would you like to see Marriott Traveler launch next?


FEATURED ARTICLE

Below is a taste of the type of articles available on Marriott Traveler. Here's a snippet from Marriott Traveler Orlando:


Skip the Line: 8 Ways to Get Ahead at Orlando Parks and Rides

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Ask around Orlando, and everybody’s got a system for beating the crowds at our famous attractions. Amazingly, most of them work — just not all the time. Below, we’ve ranked the eight best long line hacks according to effectiveness.


1.      Show When it’s Slow. This is every local’s trick because it’s the most obvious, but not everyone has the luxury of using an annual pass on a Tuesday after a rainstorm. Folks from out of town can consult a crowd calendar (like this over-explained one, but there are dozens more online) before booking a trip.


2.      Throw Money at the Problem. At Universal, the answer is simply to buy an Express Pass, which starts at about $50 on top of a regular ticket. If you’re staying on-site or have booked a package at a high-end hotel, an Express Pass will be built in (though check which days it applies). Walt Disney World has “imagineered” a more complicated solution called MyMagic+, which offers the ability to reserve rides, meals and character greets. It’s most effective for advance bookings on property, but parts of it (the new FastPass+ system) apply to even single-day tickets. A long-read explanation of how it works — and what its future will look like — was recently published in this Wired article.


3.      Stay on Site. There are obvious advantages to being just steps (or a mere water taxi ride away) from the action. Chief among them is getting to the gate without enduring theme park traffic purgatory. Another big perk is bonus time. If you’re staying in a Disney property, you’ll get complementary Extra Magic Hours — an hour before or two hours after regular opening time at one of the parks. At Universal, staying in luxury lodging gets you into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter an hour early. And considering the crowds there, that’s some potent magic.


4.      Take Advantage of a Distraction


Continued on Marriott Traveler Orlando >>

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Enter to win a free night stay from the Marriott Rewards® Credit Card.

 

Now through June 30, 2015, Cardmembers are eligible to enter to win one of 1,000 free night certificates, valid at any of 15 brands and 3,800+ Marriott locations worldwide.

 


Enter now

for your chance to win >>

www.1000NightsOfSummer.com

One entry per person | Entry for first drawing ends May 31 | Entry for second drawing ends June 30


Insiders, where would you use your free night certificate?

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Hey Insiders,

 

Let your imagination – and your suitcase – take you on a trip. I know how much you love selfies (as evidenced by the Insiders with Outrageous Shirts thread ), so I know you’ll be thrilled to hear that you could win big just by taking a selfie.

 

TownePlace Suites® and The Container Store® have partnered to put you on the road to organized travel. Take a SELFIE WITH A SUITCASE and you could WIN a 4-night getaway at the TownePlace Suites® of your choice and $500 in travel essentials from The Container Store®. Plus, we’ll be giving away weekly and voter prizes. To enter, share your Selfie with a Suitcase, tell us where it would take you and why by visiting the website below or on Twitter using #selfiewithasuitcase #promo and @TownePlacePromo.


Upload your Selfie with a Suitcase >>


Don’t forget to also upload your selfie with a suitcase on this post – we’d love to see them!


*No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. and D.C. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are at least 18 years old or the age of majority in their respective states/jurisdictions of permanent residence, whichever is greater, as of date of entry. Promotion Period begins 10:00 a.m. ET on 5/4/15; ends 4:59 p.m. ET on 6/21/15. Voting Period begins 10:00 a.m. ET on 5/4/15; ends 4:59 p.m. ET on 6/28/15. For complete Official Rules and eligibility, check back after 10:00 a.m. ET on 5/4/15. Sponsor: Marriott International, Inc.

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I cannot wait until the Bournemouth Wheels Festival comes speeding into town. If you are a complete petrol-head like me, then the Bournemouth Wheels Festival is a must-see. The 2015 festival promises to be even bigger and better than before. From vintage classic cars to stunning supercars; huge monster trucks to tanks; Bournemouth’s beaches and promenades are transformed into complete motoring heaven! And the best part of all? The Wheels Festival is completely free!

 

Revving up in last weekend of May, Friday 29th - Sunday 31st, the festival stretches across two miles of the seafront from Bournemouth West Beach along to Boscombe Pier, and holds the title of being the largest wheels-themed event in the UK. Spectacular stunt displays, adrenaline fuelled demonstrations, plus live music and entertainment on the seafront stage; the Bournemouth Wheels Festival is an exciting weekend for all the family. It is the only place that you will see Formula 1 cars zooming around the streets -- Bournemouth could well be mistaken for the Circuit de Monaco!

 

One of my favorite things about the Bournemouth Wheels Festival is seeing the elegance of the supercars; they really are an incredible sight. However, the event that will really get my adrenaline accelerating is the Monster Truck display with amazing stunts on the beach! They are absolutely enormous and you can even choose to have a ride in one. It is going to take a lot to top last year’s festival, but with more cars, more stunts and more action packed into the weekend, I truly cannot wait to hear the screech of the tires, feel the power of the engines, and welcome back the Wheels Festival to Bournemouth! For more detailed information, please visit BournemouthWheels.co.uk.

 

Steve P., Head Concierge

Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel

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