Trip News: August 28, 2018

New York City

Trip Weekly

Embattled Chinese conglomerate Anbang Insurance Group is said to be seeking a buyer for a portfolio of roughly 15 U.S. luxury hotels, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Anbang acquired the hotels from private equity firm Blackstone Group for around $6.5 billion in 2016. They include the JW Marriott Essex House in New York; Four Seasons Hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and InterContinental Hotels in Chicago and Miami, among others.


USA Today

Alaska Airlines has eliminated pre-flight alcoholic beverages for first class passengers, a standard perk on other carriers.

The new policy took effect Aug. 1. The change was made to align the policies of Alaska and merger partner Virgin America, according to Alaska spokeswoman Ann Johnson.

Alaska bought Virgin America in 2016 and officially combined the airlines earlier this year, eliminating the Virgin America brand.


Government Technology

Plenty of people already visit California’s Napa Valley, north of the San Francisco Bay Area. They come for the wine. They come for the food. They come for the scenery.

But the city wants to add a little layer on top of all that: a tech-enabled, personalized experience much like what the tech giants of San Francisco and Silicon Valley have already made commonplace in visitors’ lives.

That’s the idea the city is carrying with it as it participates in Startup in Residence (STiR) — a program that pairs up startups with governments to come up with new solutions to problems — for the first time. Peter Pirnejad, Napa’s assistant city manager, said the goal is to promote tourism anchored within the city of Napa, specifically.


Condé Nast Triper

The U.S. State Department no longer thinks American travelers need to reconsider travel to Cuba, dropping the threat level from 3 to 2 (“exercise increased caution”) this week; on a scale of 1-4, it’s the same warning issued for travel to France, Germany, and Italy.

The shift in attitude is encouraging for travelers: The U.S. government had issued a flurry of warnings against Cuba visits following a series of “health attacks directed at U.S. embassy employees” in Havana in January. Some two dozen government workers and their families were evacuated after so-called sonic attacks—suffering “hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, and difficulty sleeping”—though the source of the symptoms remains a mystery. That broad warning against travel to Cuba “roiled relations” with the island nation, “which immediately fell under suspicion, and led the United States to expel Cuban diplomats,” wrote Triper’s Paul Brady. The U.S. government has since concluded that the average traveler is not at risk.

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By: Mike

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on , and

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