México City: the colorful metropolis

By NH | 9:39
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Mexico City

 

When you land in México City, the first thing that you see is a metropolis that never ends. This city is plenty of colors, flavors and a vibrant history. Did you know that México City, with a population of more than 22 million people, is the largest Spanish speaking city in the world nowadays?

The best words to describe Mexico City are unique and unexpected. At this surprising city, you will see from Aztec dresses to Mexican hats and typical sweets, informal vendors selling chicken legs in the traffic jam to colorful crafts and souvenirs. But be careful: most of sweets, candies and lollypops are spicy!

Despite the fact that México is mainly known for Cancún or the Rivera Maya, it is also is a frequent connection for business travelers on their way to South America. A good option for accommodation is our NH Aeropuerto T2 México. The hotel is an impressive white and elegant building that offers 287 rooms and is located just 10 minutes away from the Foro Sol or Palacio de los Deportes, and 30 minutes from the beautiful Chapultepec Park and the main History Museum.

The most exciting places to visit are situated in the city center. El Zócalo is one of the biggest squares in the world. In the past, it was also the center of the ancient Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Mexican Empire. The Cathedral was built in the ruins of the main temple. Right next to it, you can see also de National Palace and the City Hall, with a Baroque style, and the National Library. In the middle, there is a big flag with the three colors that characterized the country and the food: Green, White and Red. Closed to El Zócalo, you can find our hotel NH Centro Histórico, with 105 comfortable rooms, gym and a useful service of bikes for rent.

The city also offers another Unesco World Heritage: Xochimilco, one of the best places to enjoy the Mexican culture. The canals of the park are plenty of colorful boats, known as trajineras. Along the canals, there are a lot of restaurants where you can taste the typical Mexican food.

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Brussels: architectural gems and creative corners

By NH | 13:46
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Brussels

The capital of a multicultural country and a diverse continent discovers much more than a exquisite square: The Grand Place, a marvelous masterpiece protected as a Unesco Word Heritage. It is the most iconic site of Belgium.

The city’s Town Hall is surrounded by public and private buildings of the 17th century and testifies the success of the city at that time. Every two years in August, an enormous flower carpet of 1.800 square meters is installed there, becoming the main attraction of the city.

But beside the marvelous square, Brussels also offers a complete list of places to go. Few hundred meters from the Grand Place, you can find the famous Manneken pis, the bronce sculpture of a boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. Tourists usually think on a bigger masterpiece, however it is one of the most remarkable sites to see in the surprising old city. 

From there it is easy to go to Mont des Arts where is the Royal Museums of Art and History and the Palais de Beaux Arts – Bozar with wonderful gardens. It is also close to Palace of Justice where you can enjoy beautiful sights of the city in the same area which is located the NH Brussels City Center, at the Avenue Louise, near by to the European Parliament. It is an important residential and commercial neighborhood. 

But Brussels is not only a historical city. The capital of Europe is also the legendary home of the comic book. It is the hometown of Tintin, Astèrix and Obélix and Lucky Luck. The city has a guided tour that includes buildings decorated with cartoons and the Belgian Comic Strip Center where visitors can discover a range of permanent exhibitions, illustrated with original artwork and unique objects.

The city also offers good connections to amazing medieval places as Bruges, an old city where it is easy to feel in a town 500 years ago. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is referred as “The Venice of the North”. The city is also well connected to Antwerp and even Paris where you can go in a 90 minutes trip. 

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Argentina: the best place to ski in October

By NH | 16:01
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Snow is not the same everywhere. Skiing at the end of the season, between September and October, is one of the options that come with the snow lovers who can’t wait for the start of the season in Spain. And the best place to do it is Argentina.

Catedral and Bariloche are the most internationally renowned for skiing places, but Argentina has 18 destinations to enjoy winter sports, most of them are located in Patagonia, in the farthest corner of the American continent where you can also enjoy glaciers and the end of the Andes.

The variety of ski slopes from Patagonia includes the most complete and luxurious facilities to the popular snow parks, a cheap option for those who want to save money. There are a variety of dining options and non-skiers can also enjoy options such as snowshoeing, sledding and the personal watercraft. You don’t have to be a professional to have fun and enjoy in the mountains in Argentina.

Catedral is one of the most popular tracks for skiers. Located just 15 kilometers from Bariloche, one of the major tourist cities in the country, Catedral has 1,200 hectares to enjoy the snow. Includes fifty tracks and roads with 38 lifts. For professionals and enthusiasts tricks and freestyle, it is a perfect place to perform jumps and shows an extraordinary style.

But the province of Santa Cruz, located between Chile and the Atlantic Ocean, offers the best scenery of snow Argentina, overlooking the glaciers and the natural monument, the famous glacier Perito Moreno. Valdelén Sport Center is located in an area where the Andes lose height. It has a powder snow envied by the rest of the tracks and offers restaurants, bars and facilities.

In that region, you can also find the Calafate Montain Park, a new sports center and La Hora del Chingue, offering great help and assistance to novice skiers. Further south, there are the southernmost ski stations in the world: Cerro Castor and Glaciar Martial Francisco Jerman Club Andino, with white and placid postcard views. 

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Zurich, the gateway to Switzerland

By NH | 17:26
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Zurich, the gateway to Switzerland

 

It is the main entrance, the front door of Switzerland with a complete cultural and leisure offerings. The Swiss economic engine is one of the easiest destinations from anywhere. The international airport has more than 150 connections to major cities in the world. It is located only ten minutes by train from the city center. There, the station, one of the main railway hubs of Europe, also opens the door to the rest of the country: the Jungfrau mountains, with five thousand feet, the ski slopes of Adelboden, the beautiful city of Interlaken, built in between two lakes, fascinating Lucerne, the capital Bern, the Italian style Lugano or the international Geneve. Zurich is next to everywhere. So it used to be the first destination for tourists and visitors in Switzerland.

Built on the end of the Limmat River, in Lake Zurich, Grossmunster church, with its two huge Romanesque twin towers, is one of the most iconic images of the city with the snowy Alps in the background. The city is a major European shopping gallery. Its main street, Bahnhofstrasse, was just 150 years ago the moat wall of Zurich. Today it is the most visited streets where international luxury brands try to get a spot. But Zurich is not only a showcase for the top fashion brands, luxury and accessories. In recent years, new designers created their own brands from scratch or even waste. Freitag is an example. Is the brand of a city where old tarps containers were converted on bags and fashion accessories. It is a symbol of modernity today.

The city is also a premier cultural destination. Zurich, with 366,000 inhabitants, has more than 50 museums, 14 of them dedicated to art. The Art Gallery, the Kunsthaus, one of the largest in the country, shows works as Monet’s Water Lilies, the Gates of Hell by Rodin and collections by Edvard Munch. The Bührle Foundation also competes with works by Tintoretto, Canaletto, El Greco, Goya, Rubens, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso.

In addition to the galleries, luxury and art, Zurich is also the city with the largest billboard music party activities in Switzerland. Each August the city celebrates the Street Parade, the most recognized techno party in the world. The famous nightclub Kaufleuten, one of the largest in the city, remains as the epicenter of the nightlife in Switzerland, but also other clubs as Mascotte, the oldest in town, is an excellent option with music from the eighties.

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The ecological guests in hotels: a new customer profile

By NH | 14:07
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The ecological hotels

They are very well informed about the latest technologies for reducing the environmental impact of hotel operations. They ask about the ecological commitment of companies, energy consumption and waste policy. The environmental impact is becoming a reason for choosing a hotel among those conscious clients with a high sense with the environment.

This type of guests generally come from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland and they care about the compliance of the hotel operator with energy policies and sensitive environmental waste management. In this sense, more customers from other parts of the world are becoming aware of this fact.

Accordingly, hotels are starting to pay more attention to their environmental policy. The first reason laid on economical reasons: the energy costs are a major expense.

The entrepreneurs complain about the high growth in electricity consumption during  recent years. Lighting, air conditioning and providing hot water are huge expenses that hotels try to reduce in order to be more competitive.

However, hotels have also begun to take measures for responsible consumption because of the requirement of the clients. LED bulbs and low-power devices are becoming a common practice.  The presence of detectors (comprising a lighting system  that is activated by the passage or movement of persons) or isolating materials for saving energy are also some of the most utilized measures.

Moreover, guests have started to distinguish between different energy certificates such as the Green Light and Green building, European certifications for establishments that use efficient lighting and building measures respectively.

NH Hotels also have been highlighting their environmental achievements in recent years. Energy consumption has been reduced 25% in five years, water consumption by 31% and waste generation by 34% as a result of the sustainable objectives included in the corporation plans.

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The room of the future: how will it be?

By NH | 13:39
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The room of the future
It´s not easy to image the room of a hotel 20 years from now. There are several research and commercial project that try to approach on how a room of a hotel looks like in 2034. In many of them, IT companies imagine a hyperconnected room where the guest can see the screen of the devices projected on a transparent wall or even in the table or can interact with a digital concierge to decide places to visit and how to go there. May be it looks fancy and pretentious, but some of the applications and services could become useful.

Microsoft, Toshiba, Bang&Olufsen, PayTouch, Roca, and Guardian Glass are some of the companies that cooperate to design how it would be the future hotel rooms. In the last experience, the Spanish Instituto Tecnológico Hotelero put all the technology together and try to figure out the final result.

Use your fingers to open doors or to access hotel services could not be a reality within 20 years but more immediate. The system will provide safety to guests and hotel workers and everyone who enters and leaves will be recorded in computer systems. Payment for services performed within the hotel can also be made with the fingerprint, a simple and secure method for payments.

The temperature of the water, the intensity of the lights or the temperature of the room can be selected from the devices to be connected with the systems of the room. The host can set all parameters to their preference from one device.

But the room of the future has also saved room for personal image. The mirror is an interactive feature that displays on the host’s body the best combination of clothing that are in the closet, as imagined the drafters of the room.

The environment also can be decorated to suit the client: walls with all clear or dark colors, all graduated through the LED lights and screens that envelop the room.
The shower, sink and toilet will incorporate water-saving systems and it is likely that the hot water comes from solar panels, accessible technology today but could be extended in many of the hotels in the next twenty years.

The future will tell the innovations that were just imagination and the others that will become reality.

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The Sagrada Familia opens its door to Heaven

By NH | 13:18
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The Sagrada FamiliaLa Sagrada Familia is a living monument. Each new sculpture, each opening gives a new look to the temple and becomes another excuse to visit this Barcelona monument, which is always in permanent construction.

The latest development is the door of the Nativity facade, the work done by the iconic Antonio Gaudí. The work, known as the Gate of Charity, has been prepared by Etsuro Sotoo, and since last July is the only facade that has been declared as World Heritage Site by Unesco. Made of bronze, the door welcomes an angelic environment designed by Gaudi where the first episodes of the life of Jesus is recreated.

From the capitals, in the form of palm fronds, dates clusters arise, and upon them angels with trumpets announce the birth of Jesus. They also play the harp and sing to the rhythm of the children’s choir angels. Under the tree of life are Mary, Joseph and the Three Kings.

Turtles symbolize the passage of time and chameleons the changes. Under this masterpiece of architecture that tries to emulate nature, the sculptor Sotoo designed the front door which is seven meters high and three meters wide. Two additional side doors are pending of being installed, the main bronze gate is colorful, as Gaudí envisioned the entire facade of birth which is oriented to the east, where the sun rises.

Green dominates completely the door color, a color that the author got from bronze corrosion. It was inspired by nature and her protruding vines, leaves, pumpkin flowers and iris flowers. There are also several insects such as beetles, bugs, wasps, flies, grasshoppers, butterflies, centipedes, crickets, bees, ladybugs, caterpillars, spiders, ants and dragonflies. It’s a natural environment that evokes the place where Jesus was born.

Over the doors have also been represented several biblical scenes as the adoration of the shepherds, the Massacre of the Innocents ordered by Herod, the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel, Mary’s coronation and the exodus from Egypt.

The two doors that are going to be placed next year are the door of Faith with wild roses without thorns, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi who removed the thorns from the roses, and the door of Hope with reeds that emulates the river that crossed the Sacred family on their exodus to Egypt.

 

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Ourense, the unknown city of Galicia

By NH | 13:03
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Ourense,the unknown city of Galicia

It is the only province in Galicia without coast but it have had compensations. Ourense is full of hot springs located along the Miño river that cross from Lugo to the border with Portugal. The area has become an attraction for lovers of hot springs.

Along the river, water comes from deep inside the Earth and emerge with minerals that are recommended for arthritis, rheumatoid ailments and some skin complication as acne and psoriasis. The Chavasqueira wells, in Ourense city, located in front of the river, has two campuses: one public and one private with Japanese style. It is a unique relaxing place where you can enjoy the nature. But the province also has the Pools of Outariz and Burgas Canedo, with several natural pools of cold water and hot water. Natural saunas are used throughout the year by lovers of hot springs.

Located in downtown, Las Burgas are also one of the most visited sites in the old city. There, an inscription on the wall shows the chemical analysis of the water (68 degrees Celsius) and remembers that this fountain is special and one-off.

Ourense was known as the land of the spark by the sharpeners who gathered in the narrow streets to providing services to rural and merchant sellers. But there is no more spark in the streets today and there are few remnants of its rural past. The streets and squares are emptied of modern commerce that have been moved to malls on the suburbs.  

But old and traditional markets still sell local produce as Galician cheeses or smoke cured sausages made with the purest artisanal style. All this stuffs are sold a few meters from Las Burgas. Ribeiro wine, the appellation of origin oldest Galicia, is the most common.

The city has deeply transformed its historic center, abandoned well into the nineties, and now is one of the best preserved in Galicia. A few kilometers from the city, you can go to the Ribeira Sacra, with the River Sil Canyon surrounded by 18 monasteries that can be visited. It is a wonderful and placid environment.

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Our 2014 Prediction: South America Will Be Hot

By Carlota Nelson | 10:30
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The World´s Leading Travel Trade Show in Berlin recently placed South America on the map as it continues to soar upwards as far as travel destinations and trends go. We know why travellers go to Brazil and Argentina but what about other South American countries that are just waiting to go beyond your wildest expectations? All month we´ve been discussing Millennial Travellers who crave new experiences and different ways to travel. Research shows they´ll be making their way down south and we will be sure to follow.  Here is a list of fabulous destinations that will make travelling to South America one of the best things you´ve done for yourself lately.

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Millennial Travellers are changing the way to do business

By Carlota Nelson | 10:30
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When it comes down to today´s travel, Business Millennials, in a recent survey conducted by Travel Leaders Group, said these were their 3 main concerns: delayed flights, limited airline seat availability and earning loyalty points or rewards. Other concerns include ancillary fees such as Internet and early check-in/late checkout at hotels as well as ease of passing thru security.  As Millennials make up a significant percentage of Business Travellers, the industry has taken notice and has started to change. Here are the latest trends and tips that will define business travel for the coming year.  If you´re a Business Traveller, these are the things to look for.

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