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Back in October, our favorite hotel roasting show and its polished, tough-lovin' host, Anthony Melchiorri, took up residence at the, ahem, "rustic" Glacier Bear Lodge in southeast Alaska. The result, which aired on the Travel Channel a few weeks ago, is one of Hotel Impossible's most entertaining episodes to date.
The fishing lodge's claims on its homepage -- that it "has all the amenities and activities to experience a true Alaska vacation" plus "world-class fishing" -- aren't exactly false advertisements. But Melchiorri quickly learned its self-proclaimed status as "the best lodging and dining in the area" were a bit off the mark, due to the fact that the 32 room property was quite literally falling apart.
Inside, years of untreated water damage was causing the floors, ceiling, and walls to rot away. Rusty, unhinged toilet seats and accumulated soap scum prompted Melchiorri (an admitted germaphobe) to declare that Glacier Bear's bathrooms were "the worst I've ever been in. You might as well go pee on a tree." It was hilarious when Anthony then discovered the maintenance department's favorite tool for fixing problems was simply "duct tape." (Trust us, it doesn't get much more Alaskan than that!).
This is the second installment of an interview with Reed Timmer, star of Discovery Network's Storm Chasers and the daredevil behind the new--and even more extreme--online series Tornado Chasers.Just Luxe's Lena Katz talks more with Timmer about weather-related hotel hells and why troubled travelers should try not press the panic button.
LK: Given a situation where hotels recommend guests evacuate and it’s just too hard logistically to do it – if the hotel is sturdy and there’s no risk of physical danger as long as everyone stays inside – how bad could it really be for guests to just stay put?
RT: A few years ago we were documenting Hurricane John in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. While we were granted permission to cover the storm from a sturdy hotel with our media passes, all of the tourists who didn't evacuate were forced into an underground space that clearly wasn't large enough to comfortably accommodate them. We went down there to check it out, and the smell was horrifying, the food was limited and worse than you’d see in a prison. You could see it in the peoples’ faces that they were on the verge of mental breakdowns. PLEASE do not put yourself in that situation unless you have no choice.
Reed Timmer, star of Storm Chasers on Discovery Network, and the daredevil behind the new--even more extreme--online series Tornado Chasers, monitors worrisome weather warnings as closely as the rest of us do. Maybe even more. But right about the time we start freaking out over a possible mega-blizzard looming over the hotel we’re heading to, Timmer is like, “Let me see…how fast can I get there?” He’s prepping his armored tank, The Dominator, to head right out to the watch zone and cover the storm.
For those crazy few of you thinking, “How can I get a seat in this armored tank?” Lucky you. Timmer’s new company, Extreme Tornado Tours, is currently bringing people out to view Mother Nature’s most terrifying tantrums from a front-row seat.
For the 90% of us just trying to figure out whether we should a) pack an emergency blizzard/hurricane kitb)tell the boss that on this business trip, we will not be driving to any meetings, or c) cancel the trip altogether, we spoke to Timmer and he gave us some great tips on how to handle severe weather while on the road and some awesome (if harrowing) hotel stories from his many storm-chasing years.
This is one of those hotel packages that caught our eye in light of recent news concerning Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. How do they mix? Well, it’s quite simple.
See, the The Algonquin is the official hotel of ABC’s “Katie” show, the daytime series starring Katie Couric. In their latest offering, those who book a stay at the historic hotel also receive two show tickets.
Guess who we learned Couric got an an exclusive interview with? Yep, you guessed it—Manti Te’o himself! He hasn't had an official on-air interview yet, so this will be the first. Katie gets to sit down with him and his parents and discuss the supposed hoax involving the girlfriend who never existed. The interview is schedule to air this Thursday.
Reality TV Shows / Anthony Bourdain / The Travel Channel / The Layover / Chicago Hotels / → All Tags
The Tall Travel King returns! Monday, November 19th brings the Travel Channel's second season of “The Layover with Anthony Bourdain” at 9pm EST. The premiere episode takes Tony to Chicago, where he’ll be riding around in an old-school Caddy, visiting bars (naturally), eating sausages, and stirring up that age-old debate on deep-dish pizza. We *just found out that he stayed at the Four Seasons, though he does mention the cool Longman & Eagle as well, which has made our list for its fab restaurant and wallet-pleasing rates.
In conjunction with the new season, the network will release its new 2.0 version of The Travel Channel Layover Guide with Anthony Bourdain for both iPhone and iPad ($1.99), but those who have the first version can upgrade at no charge. We're getting a bit app'd out these days, though, so you'll have to tell us if you use this one and if it's worth shelling out for.
In the meantime—picking Chicago hotels? Easy as pie—deep dish or thin crust. Here’s where we absolutely love and could spend 24-48 hours in a heartbeat.
For some strange reason we are kind of hooked on the new TLC show, Long Island Medium. And with this latest episode, we can now pass off our viewing as "work related".
This is a series about a woman named Theresa Caputo from Long Island (duh!) who is a psychic "medium", meaning she communicates with people from the afterlife. People call her in to get closure from family and friends who have passed away. Or they just want her to remove bad "juju" from their businesses. This is why we were so interested when an episode lead her to the The Padre Hotel in Bakersfield, California. She was only there to crash for the night, wasn't summoned by the hotel at all, and yet somehow, "Spirit" got to her. And our psychic Caputo doesn't keep quiet when these things happen (or is she quiet about anything, really), so that's when things got bananas.
Turns out, this "spirit" is a child--one of a few--that died in a tragic fire at the Padre Hotel, which was built in 1928. it's also been the site of several suicides. This girl had a lot to say to Caputo, who apparently took notes on a writing pad while half sleep--notes she maintains are in a handwriting not her own. This is creepy, and it's not even Halloween yet! Here's a bit of Long Island Medium in action.
Sorry we're so late in giving the eagerly anticipated recap of The Catalina, the new reality show on the CW that follows the partying staffers of The Catalina Hotel in Miami Beach, but we had some technical difficulties. (Thank God the CW lets you watch full episodes online here.)
For starters, we're going to say the show is pretty much what we expected--crazy, wild hotel staffers doing crazy and wild things while on the job. The hotel owner, Nathan Lieberman, has marketed his hotel as The Party Hotel and he is not afraid to show that off. In fact, he's trying to hype it up even more (hence the show.)
His statuesque and slightly plastic general manager, Stephanie, is supposedly the one who "enables" the guests' partying and there are plenty of shots of her going around talking to guests. (Lieberman brags that she also has "A+ cleavage.")
But as with all reality shows, we're sure the staff is turning up the charm for guests because they are on camera. Like, are Nancy and Dede, the pool service waitress and bartender, really going to take time out from their day to have girl talk with guests lounging by the pool? Hmmm...
Since then, we've seen some various pieces of promotion for the show, namely photos of the hot young cast prancing on the beach. But now as the premiere date edges closes--May 29 at 8pm EST on the CW--we've been wondering exactly what will this show be about. Well, thanks to a press release that's arrived in our inboxes, we can tell you what you expect.