in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, Origination FICO has announced it is expanding its Score Open Access program, which offers complimentary credit score access to consumers with credit management problems. Now, the program will also provide credit and financial counseling to approximately one million Americans.Announced earlier this week, FICO’s Score Open Access program will now become the Score Open Access for Credit & Financial Counseling.“The popular FICO Score Open Access program has now been extended to approximately one million people who seek assistance each year,” said Jim Wehmann, executive vice president for scores at FICO. “We consider this a major milestone in our effort to ensure that all Americans have convenient and free access to their FICO Scores.”The original program, which launched in November 2013, was designed to provide free credit score access to consumers with credit problems. It also offered credit education materials to teach consumers about scoring and responsible financial management.Though it will still provide these services, the program will now also provide consumers with access to financial counselors, as well as their credit reports. These reports will come from Experian, one of FICO’s credit bureau partners.”Experian is proud to join FICO and the nation’s credit counselors to lend our support through this important program for people experiencing financial difficulty,” said Genevieve Juillard, president of consumer information services at Experian. “It is our mission to be a champion of the consumer, and as the leading provider of consumer credit education and empowerment tools, we are proud to offer Experian’s credit reports in conjunction with the FICO Score to help struggling borrowers.”According to Sarah Chenven, director of programs and strategic initiatives at Credit Builders Alliance, the new, expanded program will give American families a better chance at financial success.”In today’s economy, a good credit history is essential for individuals and families to get and stay ahead,” Chenven said. “The ability to help underserved consumers in particular access their FICO Scores—and provide educational resources that identify the underlying financial behavior driving those scores—will strengthen nonprofit counselors’ and coaches’ toolkits, and may enhance their clients’ outcomes.”Wehmann said the idea for expanding Open Access came from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) last year.”The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau first drew our attention to financial counselors’ need to share credit scores with consumers in early 2014 as part of the CFPB’s efforts to empower consumers,” Wehmann said. “Because of FICO’s longstanding commitment to consumer financial education, when the CFPB approached us about enabling credit and financial counselors to share FICO Scores they purchase with their clients, we recognized the importance of working with our data partners to make it happen.”Credit and financial counselors can choose to participate in the expanded Open Access program if eligible. Eligibility requirements and sign-up information can be found at FICO.com. April 24, 2015 431 Views Credit Scores FICO Lenders 2015-04-24 Seth Welborn Share FICO Expands Program to Offer Financial Counseling
Regions Bank Chooses LoanSphere for Servicing, Originations in Headlines, Technology May 4, 2017 743 Views Regions Bank, one of the top 20 U.S. banks, renewed its agreement to use LoanSphere MSP on its first mortgage loans and will also be converting home equity loans and lines over to LoanSphere MSP.MSP, an end-to-end mortgage and home equity loan servicing system, is part of Black Knight Financial Services’ LoanSphere platform. MSP manages workflow for loan boarding, payment processing, escrow, and default. Currently, MSP is used to service more than 30 million active loans, according to Jacksonville, Florida-based Black Knight.“We look forward to providing an enhanced experience for our customers and increasing our operational efficiencies by servicing our home equity loans and lines on the same MSP platform as our first mortgages,” said Todd Chamberlain, EVP of Consumer Lending Support Services at Regions Bank.The Birmingham, Alabama-based bank will also begin using LoanSphere’s Empower loan origination system to originate home equity loans.“MSP’s integration with the Empower loan origination system offers us functionality and scalability through the entire loan lifecycle as we continue to grow both our originations and servicing portfolios,” Chamberlain said.With the decision to use MSP and Empower for first mortgage and home equity loans, Black Knight designated Regions Bank a Black Knight Enterprise Client.“Regions is a valued Enterprise customer, and we appreciate the opportunity to continue providing them with premier capabilities to support their growth and serve their customers,” said Joe Nackashi, President of Black Knight’s Servicing Technologies division. “As a leading fintech, we’re extremely proud that Black Knight’s ability to service first mortgages and home equity products on a single platform will help Regions Bank effectively manage its operations.” Black Knight Financial Services LoanSphere LoanSphere Empower LoanSphere MSP Mortgage Origination mortgage servicing Mortgage Servicing Platform Mortgage Servicing Providers Regions Bank 2017-05-04 Krista Franks Brock Share
An analysis by Zillow reveals that U.S. homebuyers’ cost-of-living has gone up across the country since the beginning of the calendar year. Moreover, Zillow found that two-thirds of this increase coincided with hikes in the federal interest rate, which in turn have driven up monthly mortgage payments.Mortgage payments for the average home have risen 15.4 percent in comparison to August 2017. The median home value has also risen—but only by 6.5 percent in the same period. If someone is planning to buy a median-priced home today, they can expect their monthly mortgage payments will be $118 higher than a year ago, or $1,416 per annum. This increase in the average mortgage payment is indicative not only of increased home values but also of higher interest rates for those in the market to buy.Beginning in 2018, mortgage rates have risen steadily from the historic lows they fell to after the Great Recession. The average mortgage rate at the beginning of 2018 was close to 4 percent, and since that time has climbed almost a single percentage point (about $1,200 per annum), having reached 4.9 percent in the early weeks of October 2018. With the U.S. economy exceeding expectations, economic data indicates mortgage rates will continue to trend upward alongside the Federal Reserve’s interest rates. The Fed has raised the interest rate three times this calendar year, and current projections have them doing so five more times before the start of 2020.Home value appreciation, however, has lagged behind mortgage rates after hitting a high in March 2018 of 8.2 percent. These reduced hikes in price may seem advantageous to buyers, but the increase in mortgage rates—more than double the rate of home value increases—offsets benefits homebuyers may have accrued if interest rates weren’t rising. “For most of the current economic expansion, mortgage rates have remained just off historic lows even as the American economy has accelerated,” said Aaron Terrazas, a Chief Economist with Zillow. “We’re finally starting to see typical patterns asserting themselves in the housing market, and conditions are returning to more of what we would expect in a normal economy. Home buyers and sellers have become accustomed to low rates, and there will be a bit of an adjustment period as the market adapts. Looking ahead, the impact of higher rates may slow the pace of home value growth, particularly in the nation’s priciest markets. Buyers will face higher financing costs, but also could benefit from somewhat less frenetic competition.” Homebuyers and Rising Interest Rates in Daily Dose, Market Studies, News Federal Reserve Home Value Housing Market Interest rates mortgage Property Values Zillow 2018-10-16 Staff Writer Share October 16, 2018 620 Views
Grapes in Charts: California sees low prices after … Blackberries In Charts: California leads impressiv … The California Citrus Mutual says the financial relief initiative announced this week for farmers impacted by the trade war “falls short” of growers’ needs.The U.S. Administration proposed three programs providing US$12 billion in mitigation to farmers to offset losses, although none of which involve direct payments to farmers.”The Board unanimously agreed that the Administration’s trade mitigation proposal is a noble effort to satisfy the President’s statement that U.S. farmers will not be negatively impacted by his trade policies,” said CCM board chairman Curt Holmes.”However, as released and presently understood, the proposal falls short of meeting the needs of citrus growers who export approximately 25% of their tonnage to offshore markets.” CCM president Joel Nelsen said the three program areas, as presently structured, “are not viable pathways for our producers.””Obviously, one area is geared toward grains and major commodities, whereas it was hoped that the other two could benefit specialty crops,” he said. The two programs intended to support specialty crop producers involve the purchase of excess inventory and trade promotion activities to help redirect volume normally exported to China and other destinations. Historically, the commodity purchase program is one that buys product not viable for domestic or export markets at reduced prices, the CCM said. You might also be interested in July 26 , 2018 “The potential revenue that could be generated via this program for growers is far less than export revenues, thus to assume it is a viable alternative would be incorrect,” said Nelsen.”A quick survey of the industry indicates that growers and shippers do not generally utilize this distribution channel.”While the citrus industry is more familiar with the Market Access Program (MAP), it is typically limited to specific marketing campaigns designed to spur demand in a new market in which a brand or product is not well-known.As such, MAP funds are directed into the offshore markets, not as payment to growers or shippers. “While MAP does provide value to an industry over time, the benefits to growers are not instantaneous and would not necessarily provide immediate relief,” says Nelsen.”For MAP to be beneficial in the context of trade mitigation, it would have to be modified so that fruit currently or soon to be in the market can be redirected, potentially to numerous destinations, immediately. We are talking about considerable tonnage and to assume one market, unless it is the domestic market, could absorb that tonnage is just wrong.”He added that USDA officials have said they are eager to hear how specific modifications could benefit specialty crop industries.”CCM plans to take advantage of the invitation and, together with other commodity colleagues, present ideas that would lead to a viable economic offset,” said Nelsen.The group also highlighted that port strike just a few years ago cost the California citrus industry over US$600 million in lost export sales. The CCM said while the existing trade dispute will not manifest itself into losses of that magnitude, the industry has identified potential impacts on market value and other areas affecting the customer base. U.S.: California cherry season to arrive later tha … U.S. ag secretary tours California avocado grove, …
October 17 , 2018 California table grape stocks as of the end of September were at a high of at least 10 years, with red seedless varieties responsible for most of the increase from last season.A report compiled by Origin Fruit Services South America shows that California table grape stocks as of Sept. 30 were 12.9 million boxes – 19% higher than the 10.8 million boxes registered at the same time last year. The second-highest level over the last decade – as far back as the report stretches – was in 2008 when stocks of 11.2 million boxes were registered. Since 2009, stocks as of Sept. 30 have ranged from 7.5 million boxes (2012) to 11.1 million boxes (2010).Stocks of red seedless grapes were recently registered at 7.4 million boxes – up 39% year-on-year. White seedless volumes at on par with last year at 4.5 million, while black seedless are up 16% at 656,000 boxes.Red Globes, meanwhile, are down 25% year-on-year at 365,000 boxes.Record shipping volumeSeparately, the California Grape Commission has announced that the industry set a new five-week record shipping, moving over 23 million boxes into the worldwide marketplace Sept. 8 through Oct. 12.Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission, highlighted that reporting of daily shipments to USDA is voluntary, but most of the industry participates so on a year-to-year basis the number of shippers reporting is very consistent.“This year, unfortunately, there was a period of nearly three months when shipments to USDA were under-reported compared to prior years,” Nave said.“This caused confusion as it appeared that with excellent quality and a large crop, the volume wasn’t moving. Once the reports were updated, two things became clear: volume was moving all along and the last five weeks set a volume record.”Due to the voluntary nature of USDA daily reporting, the data collected is typically 22 percent lower than the actual volume reported to the commission.“It is pretty easy to add 22 percent to the last five weeks of USDA data and see why the expectation is that the shipments will have blown away industry actuals,” Nave said.Based on the retail promotions and advertising lined up through the end of the season, the commission expects record volume weeks to continue.Nave noted that while tariffs had impacted global markets, table grapes were shipping into all of the industry’s traditional export markets and according to the latest USDA data, exports were down less than eight percent through August.According to Nave, there are some markets that have increased volumes, including Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, and the Netherlands.With 60-65 percent of the volume typically shipping Sept. 1 through January, Nave said that planning for an aggressive fall and winter promotion schedule is the norm, but that this year dollars have been added to the budget to support additional late season retail promotions and extend consumer advertising reach. U.S.: First storm hits California, more heavy rain … Blackberries In Charts: California leads impressiv … U.S.: California’s almond acreage on the rise … You might also be interested in U.S.: “Major storms” to strike California, threate …
U.S. avocado market remains strong following price … U.S.-based fruit importer and distributor LGS Specialty Sales is planning to enhance its summer citrus and Peruvian avocado programs this year, with both seasons about to get underway.The company’s advisors will be visiting citrus and avocado farms in Peru, Argentina and Chile to observe growing practices, nurture their relationships with the farmers, and beginning planning for the 2019 season, it said.“We value our partners and the work they do to help us keep our commitment to provide fresh produce to our US customers year-round,” said Luke Sears, president and founder of LGS.“Our summer citrus and Peruvian avocado programs focus on meeting the needs and demands of our customers, and our partners overseas make that possible.” April 08 , 2019 Australia: Massive hail storm rips through NSW avo … Mexico: Taco lovers cry foul over restaurants’ gua … Peruvian Police make arrest after spate of avocado … You might also be interested in LGS said that as consumer demand for avocados continues to increase, it is looking to grow and strengthen the Peruvian avocado program to complement the Mexican supply that will provide a steady source of fruit in the summer season.And in addition to Peruvian and Chilean clementines, LGS will be offering fresh lemons from Argentina and Chile, minneolas from Peru and navel oranges from Chile to enhance its summer citrus program.“Our citrus and avocado programs are a crucial part of the outdoor lifestyle shoppers enjoy during the summer season,” said Sears.”From Cinco de Mayo to Labor Day and beyond, our customers are seeking a partner they can count on to meet consumer demand for this special time of year filled with exciting eating occasions. As we continue to enhance and develop our relationships with growers in different regions, we’re able improve our availability of fruit during these months when citrus and avocados are in demand the most.”
DriveAway holidays will be providing agents with last minute domestic and international car hire bookings/urgent support across the festive season. Agents in need of urgent assistance to secure car hire bookings between now and 25 January 2018 can contact email@example.com or call reservations on 1300 363 500.Nathan Baber, DriveAway’s National Sales Manager said the extra agent support was implemented following overwhelming last minute requests during Christmas 2016, where 23% of the company’s domestic car hire bookings were collected within 7 days of that booking.
Air New Zealandairlines Air New Zealand will operate five additional return A320 services between Dunedin and Auckland per week from 29 October 2018, adding around 70,000 seats annually to the route and upping seat capacity by close to 25 percent.The new flights are timed to help Dunedin business travellers get more out of their day in Auckland, as well as enable connections via Auckland to Air New Zealand’s international destinations including Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Nadi.
To promote the latest Macao-Xiamen “Two Cities, One Fare” campaign, the Macao Government Tourism Office and Xiamen Airlines teamed up with Helen Wong’s Tours to host 17 travel agents, from Sydney’s inner north-west, to a special workshop dinner in North Ryde – including the unveiling of a special agents Xiamen Air return fare deal and accompanying free hotel stay in Xiamen en route to Macao.Xiamen, on China’s south-east Pacific coast, is popular for its beaches, tree-lined paths, colonial villas and attractions such as UNESCO World Heritage listed Gulangyu Island and the historic Hakka architecture.In contrast, Macao is famous for Portuguese-meets-Chinese characteristics and a Macanese cuisine which is among one of the world’s earliest forms of fusion food. It is also well known for its UNESCO World Heritage listed sites and extravagant contemporary integrated resorts, in particular on the Cotai district between the Macao islands of Taipa and Coloane.Guests were treated to a lavish Chinese banquet at the House of Tong restaurant as Macao continued to celebrate the Year of Gastronomy, and briefed on the latest developments in Macao, including the opening of the new luxurious Morpheus Hotel and the impending opening of the Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao road link which will draw larger tourist numbers across the Greater Bay Area on China.“Experience Xiamen and Macao”Priced from $1799 per person, twin share from Sydney, Helen Wong’s Tours’ “Experience Xiamen and Macao” package includes Xiamen Airlines return flight with three nights in Xiamen, daily breakfasts and lunches as well as guided sightseeing tours.Guests will then take the short flight to Macao to spend three nights at the Grand Emperor with daily breakfast and further sightseeing tours.Return transfers, entrance fees and sightseeing as specified are included in the price along with travel kit and backpack, taxes, security and fuel charges (subject to change) and the services of English-speaking guides.IMAGE: L-R: Alex Ding, Xiamen Air; Mike Smith, MGTO; Lydia Scuglia, Helloworld Top Ryde; Maryanne Perera-Treacy, MGTO; Julie Prichard, Helloworld Top Ryde; Francesca Acquaro, Helloworld Top Ryde; Phillip Boniface, Helloworld, Carlingford; Shannon Woodrow, Flight Centre, Carlingford. agentseventHelen Wong’s ToursMacaoXiamenXiamen Airlines
We should have seen it coming.The team’s formula success was something like great defense + mostly-competent offense + outstanding special teams = wins, and that was fun while it worked. But it was not sustainable. Certain areas needed to improve, and that they haven’t is now costing this team on a weekly basis.Falling from 4-0 to 4-3 would be bad in itself, but a quick glance at the schedule reveals a likelihood of the Cardinals reaching 4-6. Think about it: this team could be in the midst of its second six-game losing streak in two seasons. That’s not acceptable.A friend asked me the other day “let’s say the Cards finish 6-10, do you fire Whisenhunt and promote Horton?”The thought behind the idea is that Ray Horton, who has turned Arizona’s defense into one of the best in the league, is too valuable to watch leave for another team. And Whisenhunt, for all the good things he’s done in the Valley, would have just finished with his third-straight sub-par campaign. Do you give the head coach more time to fix things, even if it costs you one of the game’s rising stars?I didn’t have an answer for my friend, and I won’t for a little while. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Like after every game this season, I fully planned on writing about the Arizona Cardinals’ 21-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.I didn’t (sorry, boss).That it was Arizona’s third-consecutive loss should be cause for concern.That the Cardinals lost a game win which the opposing quarterback threw for just 58 yards should be cause for one pulling their hair out.That the Cardinals seem more likely to become the fourth team since 2008 to start a season 4-0 and miss the postseason should be reason to be upset. If anything his question is one for later down the road, if it even must be asked at all. While it may be getting easier to project this team going forward, the fact of the matter is there is still more than half a season left to be played. A lot can change. Or nothing will change. Not long ago, my colleague Dave Burns wrote if we want to love the Cardinals we’ll have to learn to live with their flaws. Problem is not only will we have to learn to live with their flaws, but accept the fact that they will ultimately be too much for this team to overcome. – / 21 But I’m not. Bummed, sure. But not upset.Guess that comes with understanding and accepting who these Cardinals are.A team with an outstanding defense, a solid special teams and an offense that even the 1994 Cardinals feel bad for. For those who don’t remember, that was Buddy Ryan’s first year in the Valley, and his team scored fewer than 15 points per game. The Cards gave up fewer than 17 points per game that season, and rode that defense to an 8-8 record.Actually, now that I think of it, the 2012 and 1994 Cardinals have a lot in common. Now all we need is Ken Whisenhunt to leave the final game of the 2013 season before it’s actually over and we’ll actually have something.Anyway, the point is it’s taken seven games, but now we have a real good idea of who and what the Arizona Cardinals are and what they are not.They are equal parts exciting and depressing, enjoyable and frustrating. They are severely flawed on offense and incredibly capable on defense. They are capable of beating anyone on any given Sunday. Yet, as of this moment it’s tough to picture this team winning another game. Until the offense starts getting out of its own way (or begins to get in a defensive lineman’s) this team will struggle to score points. As great as the defense is, it’s obvious the deficiency on the other side of the football is just too much to overcome. Top Stories 0 Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Top Stories Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling ESPN’s Kevin Seifert ranked each NFL head coach’s playing career and Arians’ time at Virginia Tech (he never played in the NFL) was good enough for 16th place.16. Bruce Arians | Arizona CardinalsPosition, top level played: Quarterback, FBSArians landed at Virginia Tech because it was the only program that didn’t rescind its interest after he was expelled from high school in the early 1970s. As a college senior in 1974, Arians rushed for 243 yards and what is still a school-record 11 touchdowns. He also threw for 952 yards and another three scores to win the team’s MVP award. He moved straight into coaching in 1975.Something you might not know: Despite his preference for downfield passing as a coach, Arians was a wishbone quarterback at Virginia Tech.Arians played in 33 games across three seasons for Virginia Tech. In all, he completed 78-of-174 passes for 1,270 yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions, while running for 319 yards and 14 scores on 135 carries. Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has had a successful coaching career in the NFL.Over three years with the Cardinals, Arians has a 34-14 record, including an NFC championship game appearance last season. Additionally, Arians went 9-3 as the interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. He won the Coach of the Year award in 2012 and 2014.Arians’ coaching career began in 1975 as a graduate assistant for Virginia Tech, but before that he was a pretty good player for the Hokies too. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo FILE – In this Jan. 3, 2016, file photo, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians smiles during an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Glendale, Ariz. Nearly every coach and every player heading to the playoffs will insist how beneficial skipping wild-card weekend is. It’s all about the bye in January. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires New England Patriots wide receiver Michael Floyd (14) catches a pass as New York Jets cornerback Juston Burris (32) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo WR Michael Floyd says he heard cheers from the home fans and they meant a lot to him. pic.twitter.com/6qkPS1NJwF— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 24, 2016New England had Floyd inactive in his first opportunity to play last week. That day, Arizona president Michael Bidwill said the team chose to cut the receiver because he showed no remorse for the arrest. Police said Floyd recorded a BAC of 0.21. Floyd was arrested after police found him asleep at the wheel at an intersection in Scottsdale. He was charged with two counts of DUI, one count of obstructing a roadway and one count for failing to obey an officer.Floyd, who was to become a free agent after this year, caught 33 passes for 446 yards and four touchdowns for the Cardinals this season. Former Arizona Cardinals receiver Michael Floyd made his debut with the New England Patriots on Saturday, catching one pass for six yards.The Patriots used a 41-3 blowout against the New York Jets to acclimate the wide receiver to the offense. He played sparingly to start but found most of his action in the second half.Floyd, who was cut by the Cardinals days after a Dec. 12 DUI arrest, took 18 total snaps. He made his only catch on a pass from backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on Floyd’s 17th play with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter, according to ESPN Patriots reporter Mike Reiss. Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
0 Comments Share Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) pulls in a touchdown catch as San Francisco 49ers defensive back Tyvis Powell (30) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald continued his streak of dominance over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.The damage came when it mattered most.Trailing 15-3 in the fourth quarter, Fitzgerald caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Josh Rosen. It was the 112th touchdown of his career, moving him into sole possession of seventh place in NFL history.That was the 112th TD reception of Larry Fitzgerald’s career. He’s now alone in 7th spot on the NFL’s all-time list for career TD catches. #SFvsAZ pic.twitter.com/72MhO60YgY— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) October 28, 2018 Fitzgerald passed NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez with the touchdown and is now just four touchdowns away from passing Antonio Gates for sixth place. Jerry Rice holds the NFL reception touchdown record with 197 touchdowns.The Fitzgerald touchdown also tied him for most receiving touchdowns against one team with 18. He also has 18 receiving touchdowns against the Rams.He wasn’t done, though.After wide receiver Christian Kirk caught a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to put Arizona up by one, the Cardinals needed a two-point conversion.They called upon Fitzgerald.He caught the pass, fought through a defender to get into the end zone and spiked it to give the Cardinals an 18-15 lead. – / 39
Go back to the e-newsletter >On 17 September 2015 Marriott International announced that The Plaza, Seoul, South Korea, will join Autograph Collection Hotels, its exclusive portfolio of hotels recognised for celebrating bold individuality. The contract-signing ceremony has taken place and the alliance will become effective in early 2016.“We are delighted that the partnership will bring together Autograph Collection and Marriott International’s strength in global marketing and sales with The Plaza’s local brand and heritage,” said Shim Kyung Seob, CEO of Hanwha Hotels & Resorts. “This is an important milestone as the hotel celebrates its 40th anniversary next year.”“Autograph Collection is a one-of-a-kind ensemble of independent hotels that we are fast expanding in Asia,” commented Craig Smith, President and Managing Director, Marriott International, Asia-Pacific. “The Plaza, with its rich heritage and special location as well as its quality service, will enable travellers to experience the charm of the city in style, truly fitting the brand promise of the Autograph Collection.”All guestrooms feature eco-friendly design materials, free wired and wireless internet access and a smart touch-pad to control room temperature, lighting and other amenities in the rooms, adding convenience to guests. Nine banquet halls can accommodate up to 600 guests while the Grand Ballroom has a capacity of 450.Hotel restaurants include TAOYUEN, a Chinese restaurant featuring modern Shanghai-style cooking; MURASAKI, a Japanese restaurant that combines modern techniques with simple and casual Neoclassic Kaiseki; and TUSCANY, an Italian restaurant helmed by Michelin-star head chef Maurizio Ceccato.Go back to the e-newsletter >
Go back to the e-newsletterCunard’s flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 has undergone a significant refit costing in the region of $132 million. The luxury liner has been lovingly remastered with new contemporary interior designs and guest experiences, many of which take their design inspiration from the original Queen Mary, which debuted in New York 80 years ago. Queen Mary 2 holds a unique place in the cruise landscape, continuing the legacy of the great ocean liners and transatlantic travel.A number of VIPs were in attendance at the US Remastering launch which included a day of celebration and fanfare. Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, commented on the occasion, “More than any other ship in our Carnival Corporation fleet of more than one hundred ships, Queen Mary 2 is the most famous, the most recognisable and certainly the most unique. It was the dream of our Chairman Micky Arison to build the Queen Mary 2 almost 15 years ago. He aspired to recreate that luxurious ocean liner experience from the past and Queen Mary 2 is the glorious result.”The refit was conducted in the Blohm + Voss Shipyard, in Hamburg, one of the only shipyards in the world large enough to hold Queen Mary 2. It was a 24-hour a day operation, with over one million man hours put into the refurbishment, during a 25-day period.The Remastering Features:Redesign and refurbishment of the Queens Grill and Princess Grill suites and restaurants, as well as Britannia staterooms, the latter to be fully completed by the end of the year.The addition of 30 further Britannia Club staterooms, 15 Britannia single staterooms and five Britannia inside staterooms.Redesign of key public spaces and restaurants, including the transformation of the former Winter Garden into the Carinthia Lounge, the introduction of The Verandah as the ship’s new specialty restaurant, and the complete refresh and restructuring of the Kings Court, the ship’s popular buffet area.12 additional kennels and other enhancements.And as befitting the flagship of the Cunard fleet, a complete repaint of the ship exterior and significant technical enhancements and structural changes.Expanded Kennels:As the only passenger vessel to carry dogs and cats, Queen Mary 2 has expanded its kennel service during this multi-million dollar renovation. Pet travel has soared in the United States over recent years and due to increased demand, Cunard has added 12 new kennels for a total of 24. In addition, the ship extended the kennel area, adding an owner’s lounge, new pet playground, and a larger outdoor area with an historic English lamppost and American fire hydrant so canines from both sides of the pond will feel at home. The artwork in the lounge was specifically created by Karen Katon-Oprey, daughter of Captain Kevin Oprey, Master of Queen Mary 2. A full-time Kennel Master takes care of daily pet responsibilities including feeding, walking and cuddling the pets onboard.Cunard’s pet-friendly policy dates back 176 years to the maiden voyage of the Britannia in 1840 when the ship sailed with a cow to provide fresh milk for passengers. Famous canines such as Rin-Tin-Tin, Elizabeth Taylor’s pampered pups and the Duke of Windsor’s dogs travelled on Cunard and to continue that tradition, NYC’s top Instagram dogs, @ChloeTheMiniFrenchie, @WallytheWelshCori, and @EllaBeanTheDog, joined Cunard on board the ship to cut the ribbon on the new kennels.“The remastering of Queen Mary 2 continues the transatlantic tradition by the thoughtful contemporising of the product for today’s discerning traveller, while maintaining the refined design aesthetics and service standards that are deeply based in British style and refinement. The Remastering is a testament to Cunard’s attention to detail, incorporating inspiration from our past that continues to propel the powerful Cunard story, which we think will strongly resonate with today’s travellers,” said David Noyes, CEO, Cunard.The essence of Queen Mary 2 lies in allowing guests to lose themselves in a world of glamour, timeless sophistication and luxury. The legendary liner experience is revered for its exceptional crew – in its 176-year history Cunard has seen seven of its Commodores knighted, an honour no other shipping company can claim. On board Queen Mary 2 today the level of expertise and tradition is not forgotten, with highly trained and attentive staff, all graduates from the ship’s White Star Service Academy. From skilled personal butlers and concierge teams of the Cunard Grills to the teams of sommeliers and waiting staff across the breadth of dining venues – all are ready to cater for the needs of every guest.Go back to the e-newsletter
Summer 2017 marks half a century of Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort welcoming visitors from around the globe to experience an epic vacation in Hawaii. The resort’s prime location is the original home of Outrigger Canoe Club, which served as the inspiration for the global hospitality company’s name. To commemorate its 50-year milestone, the iconic beachfront resort is presenting guests with two limited-time offers: the Outrigger $50 for 50 promotion and the Outrigger Hawaii 5-0 Celebrations package.“For five decades, Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort has set the standard for engaging travel and providing vacations that connect visitors to the history and spirit of this place,” said Revell Newton, general manager of Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. “From surf lessons in the waters that Duke Kahanamoku paddled his famous wooden ‘Duke’ board to live music performances nightly and complimentary local cultural programming, our guests treasure the unique experiences we offer and appreciate the heartfelt hospitality we deliver.”Kicking off the 50th celebrations will be a special edition of Duke’s on Sunday – 23 July from 4-6 p.m. at Duke’s Waikiki restaurant, located oceanfront inside Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. Henry Kapono will be playing and bringing along renowned guest performers. The following night is a VIP “Golden Anniversary” event at Blue Note Hawaii on the second floor of the resort, with special performances from award-winning artists Makana and Henry Kapono. A handful of guests staying on property that night will receive a “surprise and delight” gift, including tickets to attend this once-in-a-lifetime party. Outrigger’s long-standing local philanthropic partner Waikiki Community Center and property land owner Queen Emma Land Co. will be honored.$50 for 50 PromotionOutrigger Waikiki Beach Resort is offering a “$50 for 50” promotion to mark its 50th anniversary – giving guests a $50 resort credit when they book five or more nights from now through 22 August 2017. The resort credit can be used for dining, spa or in-room purchases. Travel must take place before 15 December 2017.Outrigger Hawaii 5-0 Celebrations PackageWhether vacationers are celebrating a romantic anniversary, a family reunion or a best friends’ getaway, the “Outrigger Hawaii 5-0 Celebrations” package can be personalised based on the preferences of each party for up to 50 guests. Packages start at $2500 (based on a three-night stay).Packages include:Deluxe three-night ocean view or oceanfront suite accommodationsPrivate VIP transportation to and from the airportA personal hotel welcome gift with lei greeting and private VIP check-inAn in-suite sunset sparkling wine celebration with appetizers for 10 peopleAdvance dinner reservations at hotspots such as Duke’s Waikiki, Hula Grill or Kani Ka Pila GrilleSpecial room rates for accompanying guestsPopular add-ons and alternatives for each itinerary include:Suite upgrade to Outrigger’s Signature Suite featuring an expansive private deck and180-degree ocean views of Waikiki50-minute in-suite couples massage for two guestsIn-room pedicure party with cocktails and appetizersPrivate sunset catamaran cruiseCustomised hosted tour of the island to visit the top places for sightseeingSunset dinner party for up to 50 people at a beachfront island venueA private Hawaiian-inspired vow renewal on the beachExclusive VIP experience with headline performance at Blue Note Hawaii
The award-winning Elements of Byron Resort & Spa lies along two kilometres of absolute beachfront in the eclectic NSW surf town of Byron Bay. The resort, inspired by the natural bounty of the region and the Australian beach lifestyle, features 193 villas set over 22 hectares of forest, lake, creek and ponds. A focus on fresh, local produce reigns at Graze, where guests enjoy all-day dining beside the pool, while Fire Pit Fridays are the perfect opportunity to sample one of the regionally inspired cocktails.Rituals for mind and body and relaxing treatments at Osprey Spa complement activities such as daily sunrise yoga and nature walks along the beach or into the rolling hills of the Byron Bay hinterland.
Want to be in the luxury travel know? Subscribe to our free eNewsletter here to keep up to date with everything in the luxury travel industry. Kalisti Hotel & Suites has reopened for the new season following extensive renovations. Designed according to the rules of Cycladic architecture, the hotel reflects the impressive beauty of Santorini’s landscape.Interiors are luxurious and comforting, blending minimalism with the warmth of natural materials, island simplicity with elegance, and earthy colours with hues of grey and touches of gold. Go back to the e-newsletter The 50 rooms and suites are spacious and comfortable, bringing together modern and traditional design. Artisanal materials and objects create an overall feeling of deep relaxation and comfort.Massage therapies and holistic treatments, using natural Apivita plant oils, can be scheduled and enjoyed in the comfort of your room or by the pool. A range of other activities are also offered, each one specially designed to help guests explore and experience the uniqueness of Santorini on-and-off the beaten track.In a peaceful area in the heart of Fira Town, this charming hotel is just minutes away from the stunning caldera rim and numerous museums, galleries, fine restaurants, shops and the vibrant island’s nightlife.More details at www.kalistihotel.com Go back to the e-newsletter
Low-cost Czech airline Smart Wings is to add direct flights from its base at Budapest Airport to Dubai.The weekly service will commence later this month and is the first direct link from the Hungarian capital to the Middle Eastern city.Services to Dubai International Airport will run alongside existing flights to the Middle East from Budapest. Passengers are already able to fly to Beirut, Cairo, Damascus and Tel Aviv with Hungarian flag carrier Malev, and to Amman with Royal Jordanian.Dimitrios Gatsonis, business development director at Budapest Airport, said: “It is great news for our passengers who can not only reach Dubai in a few hours from Budapest, but also can fly to many other places of the world with only one stop on the way.I’m also glad that Smart Wings decided to launch a long-haul flight, hopefully more carriers will follow and increase the number of overseas destinations.”Other new routes to take off from Budapest Airport this summer include services to the Norwegian holiday destination of Sandefjord, which will be added in July by Wizz Air.In June, SkyEurope will add two weekly flights from Budapest to Trieste in Italy and several others carriers including clickair and Ryanair will increase the frequencies of their flights in and out of Hungary.When the Olympic Games take place in August, Hainan Airlines will fly from Budapest to Beijing five times a week.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedNew flights at Budapest AirportBudapest Airport is to welcome several flights this summer, with new routes from a series of low-cost carriers.easyJet adds to Budapest routeseasyJet will be launching a new route from Paris Orly Airport to BudapestSmart Wings adds Greek services for summerSmart Wings adds Greek services for summer
7. Moscow, RussiaDon’t let visa requirements put you off visiting this Soviet capital. From the brightly coloured domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral to the gleaming golden spires of the Kremlin, there’s enough beauty (and borscht) to satisfy any culture vulture. 1. Berlin, GermanyThere is no need to set foot inside a museum here to sample Berlin’s vibrant culture and poignant history. The Berlin Wall East Side Gallery stands as an urban canvas; take a stroll along the 1.3km section and round things off with a chilled beer on the banks of the River Spree. 2. Bristol, UKBanksy’s backyard, this old port city has a reputation for emerging music, gastronomy and alternative nightlife. Or you could just find a sunny beer garden and sink a pint of the West County’s traditional tipple, cider! Street art, or graffiti, whatever you want to call it, tag along with us as we spray the town red…. and yellow, purple, turquoise… 8. Paris, FranceDesperate to see some Degas? Or swoon over the Mona Lisa? Head to Paris, bursting at the seams with exhibitions and galleries. And street art. Grab a croissant and head out early to avoid the queues. Related10 incredible places to visit in GermanyGermany isn’t all about swigging beer and the Berlin Wall (although both should be on your holiday hitlist!). From cutting-edge art collections to fairytale castles, feast your eyes on these 10 must-visit German destinations and the top things to do when you get there.10 top things to do in Berlin: a local’s guideFrom dancing to drinking to… kite boarding in an abandoned airport: 10 of the best things to see and do in Berlin.10 of the best European city breaks for Easter weekendIf you’re wondering where to go for that long Easter weekend, how about four days in Paris, Copenhagen, or Berlin? Here are the best destinations to fly away for this Bank Holiday weekend, from Good Friday (April 14th) to Easter Monday (April 17th). 10. Penang, MalaysiaThe ‘Silicon Valley’ of Asia, Penang is one of Malaysia’s best-kept secrets. Connected to the mainland off the northern coast of Malaysia, you’ll find plenty of boutique guesthouses and artisan workshops on the island.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map 3. Granada, SpainThe magic of Spain’s Sierra Nevada is not the only thing to get tourists flocking to Andalucia’s trendiest city. Free tapas with every drinks order and a spot of pampering in the Arab baths might have something to do with it. 6. Los Angeles, USAJoin the throng of dreamers and trendsetters along Hollywood Boulevard, or watch the beautiful people parade on Venice Boardwalk. Whatever you choose, you’ll never be lost for entertainment in sunny Los Angeles! 9. Oslo, NorwayHome to Edvard Munch’s famous painting, ‘The Scream’, Oslo should be on any art lovers’ hit list. For a touch of fresh air, head out of the city and embark on a hiking adventure around the fjords. 4. Havana, CubaThe iconic image of Che Guevara looms large in Revolution Square, but you’ll find his familiar face in murals across Havana. Get behind the wheel of a vintage American car and take a tour of the colonial palaces and Communist-era ration shops. 5. Lisbon, PortugalThis beautiful city sprawls across some pretty steep hills. If traversing the cobbles all day seem like hard work, why not let the canary-yellow tram carry you to the top for views over the River Tagus?