Travel Expert and Radio Talk Show Host Stephanie Abrams - Traveling Feet Shownotes
Traveling Feet - May 16, 2009 - Shownotes & Audio Archive

Memorable Properties from Mexico Boutique Hotels; The Algonquin Hotel Modifies its Website for 2010; Accommodations and Activities in Panama City Beach, Florida.

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Hour 1

Topics Include:

Stephanie is visiting Boston to view the Volvo Ocean Race Fleet. She will be in Ireland for the ships' arrivals in Galway on May 24, 2009 and “Traveling Feet” will broadcast live from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushy Park, County Galway. Stephanie stopped and visited the Bourke family at Glenlo Abbey during her last trip to Ireland at the end of March. With a minor twist of the arm Stephanie was convinced to return to Galway in May.

Click here to see pictures of the fleet in Boston.

For more information visit

The hotel group Mexico Boutique Hotels is dedicated to providing memorable properties in destinations throughout Mexico. The company is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary and has grown much in the last decade.

Founder John Youden traveled extensively in Mexico for his work in international publishing. He always sought out boutique hotels and found that many of the best properties weren't well known. Few of these hotels had websites at the time and struggled to promote themselves. Youden started an advertisement in one of his magazines under the title “Hoteles Boutique de Mexico”. It advertised a total of six hotels in different parts of the country. This produced much excitement in the travel community and signified a great demand for the kind of properties Youden had discovered.

Mexico Boutique Hotels was designed to help small independent properties network, advertise and to establish high standards of quality product. There are a total of 47 properties in the group today. Quinta Las Acacias in Guanajuato, Baijo, Meson Sacristia de la Compania in Puebla and La Casona in Mexico City are among the first hotels in the association that remain with the group today.

In order for a hotel to be included in the group it must have fewer than 50 guestrooms. Most of the properties have less than 30. Another area of criteria is that hotels must provide quality service (what guest Sylvie Laitre refers to as the “welcome choreography”). The properties must also be ambassadors of local culture. This extends to the knowledge of the hoteliers and often the inclusion of original artwork on the grounds.

The company has a small staff dedicated to matching people to the right hotel. Management of the group has personal experiences with each of the properties represented by the association. In 2008 the company developed a pre-arrival concierge service. This covers all the properties and allows guests to have a consistent contact throughout their stay in Mexico as well as post-departure.

The company's directory of hotels is distributed to many travel agencies and is also available to individuals who contact the group online. The website reflects the directory at its most up-to-date state. Extensive information is available online about the accommodations as well as their locations and surrounding areas. The site is available in English and Spanish.

Mexico Boutique Hotels can be contacted through their website by email or their online chat service. They also have toll-free telephone numbers in both the US and Canada.

For more information visit or call 800 728-9098.

General Manager of the historic Algonquin Hotel, Gary Budge, returns to “Traveling Feet” to discuss the newly improved Algonquin Hotel website. Over the past year the hotel's lobby, restaurants and 174 guest rooms have all been updated and/or renovated. The website was given a fresh look to reflect the fresh look of the physical assets at the hotel. It is 2010 user friendly with ease of identification of some of the great values currently offered at the property and easy “bookability”. Several incentives are offered online including a limited time offer of 25% off the best available rate. This applies to all bookings in 2009. Guests will also be automatically entered in a drawing for a four night stay at the hotel which includes daily breakfast and one dinner and a show at the world famous Algonquin Oak Room Supper Club.

The Oak Room will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in the fall of 2009. It is an intimate room that seats 80 people and is renowned for its great cabaret acts. Notable musical artists who launched their careers at the Oak Room are Harry Connick Jr. and Diana Krall. Acts rotate throughout the year with performer Andrea Marcovicci always present in the fall. The hotel is steeped in entertainment and literary history. Its lobby has been referred to as New York City's original living room. Every Sunday from 7 to 10pm a musical and cultural gathering takes place in the lobby called the Algonquin Salon.

The Algonquin Hotel is centrally located in Manhattan on 59 West 44th St. between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Manhattan. It is truly the center of it all. Times Square is one block west of the hotel and the most active part of 5th avenue is one block to the east. Rockefeller Center is four blocks north and Bryant Park and the New York Public Library are two blocks south. For a NYC tourist it is a convenient location for theater, retail and other midtown Manhattan itineraries.

Find more information at or call 212-419-9331.

Fun Facts:

The Blue Bar lounge at the Algonquin Hotel in NYC opened the day after the repeal of Prohibition.

Guests Include:

Sylvie Laitre, Director, Hoteles Boutique de Mexico/Boutique Hotels of Mexico.

Gary Budge, General Manager, The Algonquin Hotel, New York City, NY.

Hour 2

Topics Include:

Panama City Beach, Florida welcomes 6 million visitors a year. Florida's Gulf Coast is an amazing coastline indicative of the coastal United States as much as it is the Caribbean. The area of Panama City Beach has white beaches, green ocean and blue skies. It is located in the middle of the Panhandle in the northern part of the state. As a result its weather is temperate and the area experiences all 4 seasons.

Early April through the end of October is a great time to experience the beach and to swim in the ocean. In the remaining part of the year Panama City Beach is still great for relaxation and rest. Its natural beauty is second to none and the ocean has spectacular ambience. There is a lot of undeveloped land in the area and 40,000 acres were recently set aside for conservation. The area will be a fabulous eco-tourist destination for years to come.

Panama City Beach has the largest tourism economy in all of Bay County, Florida. There has been a lot of development over the last five years. The Convention and Visitor's Bureau is launching a new marketing campaign that highlights Panama City Beach as a spectacular and unique destination. It is a great vacation site no matter what your age.

For more information visit

Air Jamaica is implementing a new policy that will apply to the airline's New York-Grenada and New York-Barbados routes. Passengers flying economy class will be allowed to check one bag for free but will be charged $25 for a second bag. The additional baggage will not arrive with the traveler at the destination but rather be transported within seven days of the customer's departure date. It will also not be delivered to the passenger once it arrives at the destination. The passenger is expected to travel back to the airport to pick it up when it arrives. 

Click here to read Stephanie's blog entry on the new luggage policy.

Resort Quest is one of the largest property management companies in the United States. It has 10,000 vacation rental properties in the US alone. One of its newest properties is the Tidewater Beach Resort in Panama City Beach. It is located half a mile west of Pier Park at the intersection of Highway 79 and Front Beach Road. Amenities at the Tidewater include indoor and outdoor pools, a restaurant and an arcade. There are 572 unit condominiums consisting of one, two or three bedrooms.

The area is great for shopping, dining, entertainment, jet skiing, parasailing, kayaking and banana boat rides. Close by are the Frank Brown Memorial Park and nature trails at St. Andrew State Park. Panama City Beach is also a great place for destination weddings.

Visitors can fly direct into Panama City International Airport and a new region airport is currently under construction.

Guests Include:

Dan Rowe, President & CEO, Panama City Beach CVB.

Eva Dixon, Area General Manager, Resort Quest and Tidewater Beach Resort, Panama City Beach.

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