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As the days get shorter, Linz, Austria takes on an even more radiant appearance. The scent of Christmas markets and the cake shops with their gingerbread and “Linzer Torte”, the lights of the city’s silhouette, with its mix of the modern and the historical, and the temptations of shopping at Linzer City shorten the wait ahead of Christmas. Slowing down the pace of day-to-day life, taking time for inner reflection, and releasing fresh energies…are you looking to de-stress during the hectic pre-Christmas period? Enjoy the reflective peacefulness and the chance to slow things down in any of our numerous churches, or equally at our authentic Christmas markets, mercifully free from piped music. Discover Christmas markets and boat trips from 22nd November to 23rd December 2014.

 

Advent boat trips on the Danube River

Even in winter, boats set off from Linz on trips along the Danube Valley. The early dusk provides for a very special spectacle: the artistic backdrop of the lights of the Linz bridges and house fronts along the Danube Cultural Mile sparkles in the water’s reflection. The Cultural Mile in Linz is full of different museums, of which the most famous are the Lentos Art Museum and the Ars Electronica Center – Museum of the future. Enjoy the tour on the CRYSTAL SHIP exclusively made with Swarovski crystals (Reederei Wurm+Köck, phone +43 732 783607, www.donauschiffahrt.at, Friday, November 28, Thursday, December 4, Friday, December 5, Wednesday, December 10, Thursday, December 11, Friday, December 12 in 2014, price per person 13,80 €. Rides start from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m for 2 hours.).

 

Cribs in Linz

Encounter and marvel at art and experiencing local customs from November 22 – December 24, 2014 as the capital city of Upper Austria transforms itself into a glittering Advent city. Several hundred cribs of different designs from all over the world – from the richly-detailed box crib to the life-size straw crib – attract admiring gazes in the shop windows of the city center and in churches and museums. Experience the Crib Exhibition in the Schlossmuseum Linz from November 25, 2014 – February 2, 2015. The impressive collection of cribs in the Upper Austrian regional museums is exhibited every year in the city’s Castle Museum during the Christmas period. The crib in the cathedral (Linzer Mariendom) is famed as one of the biggest and most beautiful cribs in the world, and this guided tour presents it with all its special features. A further highlight is walking the inner gallery of the cathedral at a height of around 16 meters, allowing visitors to view the stained glass window on the Birth of Christ from close up as part of the tour. Also be sure to see the Crib of Flowers at the Botanical Garden from November 11, 2014 to June 1, 2015 -- highly recommended for flower friends!


Petra G.

Courtyard by Marriott Linz

Hey Insiders,

 

I started this poll last week - please take a minute and let me know your thoughts on the Destination Spotlight posts.

 

I'm curious about your thoughts on the Destination Spotlight posts that are typically posted every Friday on the Exclusive News blog. As the year is coming to an end and I'm making plans for 2015, these posts are open for discussion. I decided to ask you what you think about them!

 

Destination Spotlight Posts

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Hey Insiders,

 

We’re sharing our biggest sale of the year with you even earlier this Holiday season!


Beginning today, visit ShopMarriott for our biggest sale of the year: $600 OFF the Marriott Bed and 35% off site-wide.


Visit ShopMarriott>>



This sale runs from November 17th through December 23rd. Happy Shopping!

ENTRY_Advent.jpgStarting in mid-November the streets of Hungary’s capital city of Budapest are decorated with colorful lights as the city starts to prepare for Christmas. Shop windows are adorned to attract people hunting for gifts. From the end of November Budapest can boast with one of the best open-air Christmas fairs in Europe, located in the city center on the Vörösmarty Square. Cottage-style wooden stalls and an outdoor stage take over one of Budapest's most attractive squares right by the Gerbeaud Confectionary building, which is transformed into a giant Advent Calendar where a window is opened at 5pm each day until Christmas. The square is turned into a festive market place, where masters of folk and applied arts sell their Christmas wares made from natural materials using traditional techniques. Visitors can hold onto a mulled wine in a festive gift mug, and smell the scent of traditional honey cookies and cinnamon. The rich fragrance simply lures you to the market.

 

Visitors will find a merry atmosphere and also a number of well-produced entertainments, exhibitions and other supporting programs. Programs are offered on two stages every day from 17.00 till 20.00: folk, jazz, world music concerts, and dance house performances entertain visitors to the fair. On weekend mornings a puppet show is on stage to delight families with children. The Christmas fair on Vörösmarty Square is the oldest, richest and the most spectacular of all the Christmas markets in Budapest. Similar bazaars can be found on Jókai and Liszt Ferenctér, near Oktogon.

 

ENTRY2_Advent.jpgChristmas Winter Wonderland at the Budapest Marriott Hotel

As of November the Budapest Marriott Hotel enchants visitors through its newly introduced Marriott Winter Wonderland, with seasonal activities as well as the Santa Shop and Christmas Market in their lobby area. Guests can enjoy holiday cheer and fun featuring special Christmas music performances by children’s choirs every afternoon, and special traditional Hungarian gifts and cookies available in Santa's Shop. Having a hot mulled wine and cinnamon with a roasted chestnut on the Corso terrace of the Budapest Marriott Hotel is an idyll atmosphere in which to enjoy the Danube in the winter time. Our Master Pastry Chef presents his delicious Christmas treats made exclusively by hand for the enjoyment of the hotel guests and their families and business partners. The Budapest Marriott Hotel also offers a New Year Eve package for those who are willing to welcome year 2015 in the heart of Budapest -- the exclusive Gala Dinner gives an everlasting memory of the entire city. We hope you will visit us this holiday season at the Budapest Marriott Hotel.

 

Edina L.

Budapest Marriott Hotel

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Hey Insiders,

 

I wanted you to be the first to know about a brand new sweepstakes opening tomorrow from Marriott Rewards!


To continue our Year of Surprises, Marriott Rewards is teaming up with the NFL to give six lucky members a chance to meet their favorite player at the 2015 Pro Bowl in Arizona.


The sweepstakes opens tomorrow, Wednesday, November 12th at 10:00am EST. You’ll be able to enter by telling us who your favorite NFL player is and by showing us what makes you the most passionate fan ever!



Tomorrow, you can click here to enter: http://www.marriottrewardsmostpassionatefan.com/



The sweepstakes runs through December 2nd, 2014 and is open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. and D.C. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are at least 18 years old and who are Marriott Rewards members. Click here for complete rules, including how to enter.

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Hey Insiders,

The Holidays are coming - good thing the gifts are already here. Use points for surprises from iPad® Minis to designer accessories … and be sure to check back for Black Friday specials on high tech, high fashion and brands from TaylorMade to Dyson.

 

Shop Use Rewards>>


Shop Popūlr>>

Hey Insiders,


In follow up to my post, Hotel Websites are Getting a Makeover, our team has some questions about what exactly you visit hotel websites for after you’ve made a reservation.


  • After you’ve made a reservation but before you depart for your trip, do you visit the hotel’s website?


 

If Yes:


  • Do you visit hotel websites for your leisure or business trip, or both?
  • Why do you visit the hotel websites? What kind of information are you looking for (dining options, parking, etc.)?

 

If No:


  • Why not? Is there any information that, if added to hotel websites, you would visit the website for?

 

Either way, what would be your ideal hotel website experience before a trip? What kind of information or functionality would make the hotel websites better before a trip (i.e., directions to the hotel, check-in to the hotel)? Do you ever visit the hotel’s website post-trip, and if so, what for?

 

Thank you for your feedback!

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Hey Insiders,


Here’s the story of how Tammy Cobb’s dream of a decent home came true — and how you can help others build their success stories through Habitat for Humanity.


Tammy’s story

Tammy suffers from cerebral palsy and at 41 years old, she was still living with her parents while trying to raise her eight-year-old daughter, Jovani.


She made too much money for public housing but not enough to afford decent housing on her own. At her parent’s house, she had to crawl up the stairs to get from one floor to another. She needed a wheelchair-accessible home and Jovani needed a room of her own.


How Habitat for Humanity made a difference

Tammy asked Habitat for Humanity to put her on the waiting list for an application workshop, to learn more about the organization’s “sweat equity program.”  “As soon as I could get into a workshop, I went to it.  And two months later, they chose me.”

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After investing 350 hours of sweat equity in Habitat's office and assisting with workshops, Tammy bought and moved into her new home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. “I love my house,” she said. “It’s very accessible and everything I dreamed it would be.”


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She’s excited about how the house has changed Jovani’s life. “Before, we had one closet to share, and I gave her three drawers and I had three drawers in the dresser. Now she’s bringing friends over and having sleepovers. It’s such a blessing.”

 

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Donate points to help people like Tammy become proud homeowners >>


About Habitat for Humanity

More than 1.6 billion people live in substandard housing. Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Since 1976, Habitat has helped more than 4 million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve more than 800,000 homes.


Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses. Habitat houses are then sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable loans.

 

  • In addition to making a down payment and mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor — sweat equity — into building their Habitat home and the homes of others.
  • Decent, stable housing provides stability for families, a sense of pride, safety and security and increased prospects for education and jobs.
  • Marriott Associates have volunteered thousands of hours to help build Habitat homes in at least 15 countries.

Hey Insiders,

 

We’ve created a Group on Insiders called Marriott for Small Business.

 

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This is a group for Small Business owners, employees or anyone who wants to learn about or have a conversation around how Marriott’s brands, properties and the Marriott Rewards hotel program can help you get the maximum return on your business travel investment.

 

We’ll be sharing thoughts and ideas about how Marriott for Small Business can help you owners and employees with your wins, challenges and opportunities. The group will primarily be run by msb_bryan Everyone say “Hi, msb_bryan!”



We want to hear from you as well, so join the Group, start a conversation or share a relevant article.

 

Marriott for Small Business

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Here are our insider tips for a perfect day on the Parisian left bank…

 

After a delightful breakfast at the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel, walk to Denfert Rochereau and get on the B line to reach the Luxembourg Garden. Enjoy the sun in this quiet heaven in Paris. Next, leave the garden for your relaxing appointment at Spa 28, at 28 rue Monsieur Le Prince. Then it is time for lunch at Chardenoux Des Prés. The décor has remained the same since the 60’s/70’s in this “so Germaine” bistro where Cyrill Lignac, a French chef, mixes tradition and a modern touch to the high quality and seasonal products.

 

After lunch, enjoy your walk on rue du Dragon where you will find many modern designers. Walk through rue de Sèvres for a dive in the old Rive Gauche swimming pool. Oops! This is now the newest Hermes Boutique. Walk by the Rive Gauche Palace, Lutetia, which is currently closed for renovations and you will reach Le Bon Marché, a temple of fashion. Tired? No? Take a short walk to the Place Saint Sulpice to admire this wonderful church. Ready to find a souvenir of Paris? Stop by rue Bonaparte to buy some macarons at Pierre Hermé boutique, located at 72 rue Bonaparte. From there you can reach the line 4 from Saint Sulpice back to the hotel to unpack your findings. Next we recommend you get ready for your dinner time at Comptoir du Relai, at 9 Carrefour de l’Odéon. After dinner why don’t you stop for a spicy cocktail at Pub Saint-Germain, 17 rue de l’Ancienne-Comédie. There people will start to dance -- will you join the crowd?

 

Any questions? Just contact the Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center concierge, and we will help you to enjoy a wonderful stay in Paris that you won’t forget!

 

Alexandra G.

Paris Marriott Rive Gauche Hotel & Conference Center

Hey Insiders,


Soon we’ll be launching redesigned hotel websites for Marriott.com. Our Digital team has been working to refresh and further enhance the hotel website experience and I’m happy to share a sneak peek of these updates with you before they go live!

 

  • Enhanced navigation – key pages and content are immediately accessible:

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  • Quick links to content you are about, such as Rewards Category or Parking:

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  • Larger, enriched photography:

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  • Key content added to Homepage, such as amenities and Marriott Verified Reviews – you can find the answers to most of your questions without clicking through multiple pages:

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  • Guestroom photography added to homepage:

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All Marriott hotel websites will undergo this revamped design, providing an in-depth hotel experience on your laptop, mobile or tablet. What do you think about these enhancements? Look for them to go live in a couple of weeks!

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Stay at England’s Portsmouth Marriott Hotel and explore the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which has these amazing sights to offer families and maritime enthusiasts alike:

 

  • The exciting new £27 million Mary Rose Museum opened its doors to visitors last year, and provides one of the most significant insights into Tudor life while creating the new centrepiece to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.  The Tudor ship that captured the world's imagination when she was raised from the seabed in 1982 is the only sixteenth century warship on display anywhere in the world, and the brand new Museum built around her reunites her with many of her 19,000 artefacts and crew.
  • HMS Victory is the Royal Navy's most famous warship. Best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar, the Victory currently has a dual role as the Flagship of the First Sea Lord and as a living museum to the Georgian Navy.
  • HMS Warrior, launched in 1860, was the pride of Queen Victoria's fleet. Powered by steam and sail, she was Britain's first iron-hulled, armored warship and the largest, fastest and most powerful ship of her day.
  • The National Museum Royal Navy Portsmouth is one of the country’s leading maritime museums. Discover how the Royal Navy helped shape the modern world through stories of courage and determination in our three exhibition galleries. See treasures from the last 350 years like the Life Mask taken from Nelson’s face in 1800, the first Victoria Cross ever awarded in 1856, or a World War II Enigma Machine which helped win the Battle of the Atlantic.

 

Stay with us between the 28th and 30th November and visit the Victorian Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. This firm family favorite set in the atmospheric dockyard surroundings returns again for 2014, and is the perfect way to start your festive season celebrations and preparations. You'll be magically transported into a bygone Victorian era of snowy streets - Cheapside and Richside - with seasonal carols and a host of colorful Victorian characters including chimney sweeps, suffragettes, wenches and gentry. The young (and young at heart!) will also delight in seeing the traditional Father Christmas (dressed in green) in a live stage show. Not to be missed is Fagin's Tavern in the spectacular Spiegeltent located next to the world famous HMS Victory. In here you will find a real ale bar plus entertainment.

 

The popular Christmas market offers a truly unique Christmas shopping experience, whether you are looking for that perfect Christmas present or maybe a treat for yourself the market areas will feature many new stalls to browse. Offering a wide array of unusual Christmas gifts not to be found on the high street plus food and drink, clothing, jewelry, arts and crafts and home ware... there really is something for everybody. To book your ticket at Early Bird prices visit christmasfestival.co.uk.

 

We hope you will come and enjoy a nautical day out in Portsmouth for all the family!

 

Katie D.

Portsmouth Marriott Hotel

communitymanager

#SayHiToWiFi

Posted by communitymanager Oct 30, 2014

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Hey Insiders,

 

I have some news to share! I wanted you to be the first to know about an exciting new Marriott Rewards member benefit. Beginning January 15, 2015, members who book directly on Marriott.com or any of our other direct reservation channels will receive free in-room Wi-Fi! Direct reservation channels include: Marriott.com, Mobile, Voice or On-property.


Bragging Rights

We’d like to spread the word as quickly as possible, so I ask you to share, tweet and post away using the hashtag #SayHiToWiFi. Of course all you Gold and Platinum Elites (I know there are a lot of you out there!) will continue to enjoy your free enhanced Wi-Fi where available.


We’re excited to share this new program benefit with you!

 

MarriottRewards.com/FreeInternet

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Hey Insiders,

 

Residence Inn and Penguins of Madagascar have partnered to bring you the:

 

PENGUINS

PICTURE MISSION

October 27 – December 7, 2014

Click here to enter >>

Create your own photo by mimicking the pose of the Penguins. Each week (for six weeks) the Penguins’ pose will change, allowing you to pose (and enter) multiple times. Submit your photo each week for your chance to win some awesome prizes!


What you can Win:

  • Trip for 4 to see Madagascar Live! Operation: Vacation at Busch Gardens® Tampa
  • Plane tickets for 4 and a 3-night stay at Residence Inn Tampa Downtown
  • Plus 50 Runner-up prizes to be won weekly throughout the Sweepstakes!

 

What a fun sweepstakes – this is a perfect opportunity to include the kids or grandkids and take some memorable photos! Any big Penguins fans out there?

 

No purchase necessary. Ends 12/7/14. Rules: http://bit.ly/1wuIxyogi

exterior.jpgWhether you are a culture vulture, music fanatic, ravenous foodie or retail queen, Liverpool will not disappoint. We have the highest concentration of museums and galleries outside of London. Here are my top 5 recommendations for the UK’s friendly city of Liverpool:

 

Museum of Liverpool: The Museum of Liverpool is the world’s first national museum devoted to the history of a regional city and the largest newly-built national museum in Britain in more than a century.

Hop on board the overhead railway, get up close to the stage where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met, immerse yourself in the city’s rich sporting and creative history, and experience for yourself what it means to be Liverpudlian. Don’t miss the 360º immersive films about Liverpool and Everton FC and The Beatles!

 

Knowsley Safari Park: Knowsley Safari Park opened in 1971 and continues to be one of the biggest, best and most exciting days out in the UK. Our five mile safari drive and vast walk-around area are home to over 700 exotic animals, from lions and tigers, to elephants, meerkats and, of course, those cheeky baboons. Visitors to Knowsley don’t just get an amazing, close-up look at our animals; there is so much more to experience!

 

Beatles Story: The Beatles Story is a unique, award-winning visitor attraction that will take you on an unforgettable, atmospheric journey through the lives and times of The Beatles. See how four young lads from Liverpool were propelled to the dizzy heights of fame and fortune, conquering Britain, America and the world to become the greatest band of all time. To reflect the incredible lives of the Fab Four, The Beatles Story tripled in size in 2008, offering even more fun, excitement and interactive features.


Mersey Ferries: San Francisco has its cable cars, New York has its yellow cabs… and Liverpool has its world famous Mersey Ferries. An experience you’ll love starts with a River Explorer Cruise. A River Explorer Cruise is a must do experience and the only way to see and enjoy Merseyside and Liverpool’s iconic waterfront and UNESCO world heritage site. Departing hourly, the 50 minute experience sails between Pier Head, Liverpool and the Wirral peninsula and a journey can be selected to suit each and every day out.


Liverpool ONE: Liverpool ONE offers a multitude of high profile stores with more than 160 famous high street shops, ultra-hip fashion brands, cool independent boutiques, cafés and restaurants in the heart of the city. Once you have explored Liverpool ONE, why not take time out to visit the Leisure Terrace overlooking Chavasse Park. The restaurants and cafés up there will offer the perfect counterpoint to a hard day’s shopping.

 

Come and visit soon!

Lisa G.

Liverpool Marriott Hotel City Centre

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