Travel News: Emerald Isles and Adult Movies

Hotels shut off pay-per-view and stage their publicity shots—but hey, tickets to Ireland are cheap!

By: Sophie Gilbert

Here at Travel News HQ, we try our best to be regular Pollyannas, even in the face of never-ending travel adversity (snow delays, volcano eruptions, dealing with British Airways). So here’s some good news this week for travelers: The current economic mess in Europe means there are some absolute steals to be had on all-inclusive holidays, particularly in bailed-out countries such as Ireland and Greece. If this story in the New York Times doesn’t persuade you, check out the astonishing Ireland vacation deal after the jump.

Actual travel “news” is a bit thin on the ground this week, although this is an entertaining enough story from USA Today: The Washington-based Marriott hotel chain is cleaning up its act and pulling the porn from its new hotel rooms. A statement said, “It is our practice to keep adult content out of the reach of children and unavailable to any adult who chooses not to view it . . . Changing technology and how guests access entertainment has reduced the revenue hotels and their owners derive from in-room movies, including adult content.” In other words, now that it’s no longer such a moneymaker, they can afford to be high-minded.

Ever wonder why the idyllic hotel from your brochure or slide show looks so, well, different in real life? You may have guessed it, but just in case, CNN clears it up: Hotels frequently stage photos to make their establishments look more luxurious and picturesque than they actually are. One common trick involves placing an attractive woman in the middle of an otherwise empty shot (as opposed to 50 conventioneers with beer bellies and a fleet of screaming children). Washington’s own Hyatt Regency is apparently one of the worst offenders, with a backdrop of the Capitol that seems far too Photoshopped to be real (but without any pretty girls in sight).

Now for the deals—this week, both courtesy of Travelzoo:

Sceptre Tours is offering a six-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton just outside Dublin for $799, including a deluxe room, return flights, a rental car with unlimited mileage, and 20 percent off any treatments at the on-site ESPA spa. The final price will add an additional $127 per person in taxes and fees, but even so, it’s almost equivalent to a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The hotel has two golf courses and is a short distance from Kilkenny, Waterford, and Belfast. You must depart on Monday or Tuesday from March 12 through April 30 and book by January 28. And send us a postcard. Flights leave from New York, but you can fly out of DC for an additional charge.

The Hyatt Regency in Chicago (which may or may not have Photoshopped images of itself on its Web site) is offering rooms through March 12 for $99 a night, including valet parking and Internet access. The hotel is located downtown by the Chicago River, close to museums and the theater district. And, we hope, some of these places too. Certain dates don’t apply, and stays must be booked by January 28.

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