Black Friday 2017: Check out the sales at Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s & more

Thanksgiving is still weeks away but a growing number of retailers have already released their Black Friday sales ads — a shift that is giving bargain hunters a jump start on their gift lists this year.

While Black Friday is expected to hold its spot as the busiest shopping day of the year, that hasn’t stopped retailers from continuing to court shoppers long before the Thanksgiving turkey hits the table.

Boynton Beach– Shoppers rush into Kohl’s Department Store in Boynton Beach as the store opens their doors at midnight Black Friday morning. (Alyssa Orr/The Palm Beach Post)

This local resort is having a “flash sale” on rooms, golf packages

PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens will hold  a “flash sale” this week offering discounts of up to 25 percent off rooms and “stay-and-play golf packages.”

The Championship Course. Contributed

The resort said the deals will be available between for stays between Aug. 28 and May 15, 2018.  The sale starts on Wednesday (Aug. 23).

According to the resort, rooms will be 25 percent off, while stay-and-play golf package rates will be 10 percent off.

To receive the discount, customers must book between 7 a.m.  Wednesday (Aug. 23) and 11:59 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 27). For more information call by calling 855.233.1444 or click here.

West Palm Beach tourism company to offer 90-minute eclipse cruise

Looking for a place to watch Monday’s historic Solar Eclipse?

Visit Palm Beach,  which offers kayak and paddle board rentals and cruises aboard its 50-foot catamaran Hakuna Matata from the West Palm Beach waterfront, has just announced it will offer a 90-minute eclipse catamaran cruise for residents and tourists who want to view the event from the water. 

RELATED: Fake eclipse glasses ‘flooding’ market, astronomy group says

The 2 p.m. cruise departs from the waterfront docks along the Intracoastal Waterway in downtown West Palm Beach.

To reserve a spot call (561) 881-9757 or visit www.visitpalmbeach.com.

MORE: How Floridians can watch the Aug. 21 solar eclipse

Monday’s eclipse is the first to travel coast-to-coast in the U.S. in 99 years.

ALSO:Upcoming total solar eclipse stirs fears of apocalypse

Florida is not in the path of totality, where the moon will completely overtake the sun and complete darkness will reign for more than two minutes.

About 80 percent of the sun will be covered by the moon in South Florida.

Palm Beach County tourism website ranks among best in the world

A new website created to market Palm Beach County as tourist destination ranks among the best in the world, according to Skift, a travel and marketing company.

The website, www.thepalmbeaches.com, which was recently launched by Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing group, was named one of the “25 best tourism board websites” in the world.

RELATED: Record number of tourists visited Florida during first half of 2017

Skift noted that the site includes photos posted on social media by recent vacationers and residents using the hastag #ThePalmBeaches.  User-generated content like Instagram photos and Twitter posts help create a sense of realism about a destination, Skift’s report said.

“This honor puts Discover The Palm Beaches in some great company in the Destination Marketing Organization world, relative to tourism websites,” said Rich Basen, senior vice president of marketing and leisure sales for DTPB. “When you consider how many tourism organization websites exist today, you understand just how much this achievement speaks volumes about the thoughtful content and ease of use of our new website. We’re competing with the entire world.”

Record number of tourists visited Florida during first half of 2017

A record 60.7 million tourists visited Florida during the first six months of 2017, marking the highest tourism count ever recorded between January and June, Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday.

The record tourism level comes amid a difficult year for the state’s tourism marketing organization, Visit Florida, which faced budget cuts and saw the departure of several of its top executives following criticism over its $1 million contract with performing artist Pitbull. After a bitter debate between the governor and some lawmakers, state officials agreed to restore Visit Florida’s funding, but Palm Beach County tourism officials have raised concerns that new restrictions placed on the state marketing group after the fallout could hinder its efforts to bring tourists here.

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

RELATED: Tourists continue to visit Florida in record numbers

Last year’s hurricanes, the Zika virus and the Jan. 6 mass shooting at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport were also a blow to the sate’s tourism industry.

Despite the crises, Scott said Florida’s tourism industry has continued to flourish. The number of visitors who traveled to the state between January and June grew by 4.1 percent over the same period last year, Scott’s office said.

MORE: How social media influencer sells Palm Beach County tourism

“With the investments made in Visit Florida during this year’s special legislative session, we can continue to break records and work toward our goal of 120 million visitors this year,” Scott said. “Florida’s booming tourism industry supports 1.4 million jobs across the state, and I know that Visit Florida and their many local partners are continuing to focus on breaking more records in order to help create even more opportunities for our families.”

Miami Heat star, partner to open eateries at Brightline station

Miami Heat basketball star Udonis Haslem has teamed up with a South Florida business leader to bring an Einstein Bros. Bagels and Starbucks coffee shop to Brightline’s MiamiCentral train station in downtown Miami.

The Miami Heat’s, from left, Willie Reed, Goran Dragic and Udonis Haslem celebrate 110-102 win against the Washington Wizards at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on Wednesday, April 12, 2017. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

JFC Miami, a South Florida-based food and beverage operator run by Haslem and Managing Partner Ramona D. Hall, will open the bagel shop and coffee spot, Brightline announced Thursday.

RELATED: All Aboard Florida sued by Sprint for unpaid bill

“We are delighted to have JFC Miami join MiamiCentral with Udonis Haslem and Ramona D. Hall as a part of our team,” said Daniel Quintana, vice president of development for Florida East Coast Industries, Brightline’s parent company. “MiamiCentral is the new epicenter of Miami, home to Brightline and leading companies Ernst & Young and Cisneros, Miami’s first true food hall experience, Central Fare, and at the crossroads of Metromover, Metrorail and the future Tri-Rail expansion into downtown.”

RELATED: Brightline hopes to woo commuters with Park-Line apartments

MiamiCentral is an 11-acre train station and mixed-use development spanning six city blocks. In addition to the Brightline station, the project includes 300,000-square-feet of office space, 180,000-square-feet of retail and dining space, and 800 residential rental units.

 

This local airport was named one of the best in the country

Palm Beach International Airport is one of the best in the country, according to Travel + Leisure magazine.

PBIA took the 9th spot on the magazine’s list of the Top 10 best domestic airports, which was released on Tuesday. The list appears in the August 2017 issue of the magazine and on Travel + Leisure’s website.

A Frontier jet taxis toward its gate at the Palm Beach International Airport Friday, November 21, 2014 after arriving for the first time from Trenton, NJ just before noon. (Damon Higgins / The Palm Beach Post)

RELATED: This local resort made Travel + Leisure’s Top 10 list

PBIA bills itself as a “user-friendly, congestion-free, comfortable yet modern airport.” It has nearly 200 daily non-stop arrivals and departures to more than 25 destinations in the US, Canada and the Caribbean on 13 airlines.

Other airports that made Travel + Leisure’s Top 10 list include: Minneapolis – St. Paul International; Austin-Bergstrom International, Texas; and Tampa International, Florida.

Portland International in Oregon claimed the top spot — marking the fifth consecutive year its earned the number 1 ranking.

This local resort made Travel + Leisure’s Top 10 list

The Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa ranks among the Top 10 hotels in Florida, according to Travel + Leisure magazine.

The Manalapan resort took the 10th spot on the list, which appears in the August 2017 issue of the magazine, and on Travel + Leisure’s website.

Eau Spa (Provided)

RELATED: Chinese leader stay at Eau chance for resort, county to stand out

Other Florida hotels to make Travel + Leisure’s list include: Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate; Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles Beach; and Little Palm Island Resort & Spa in Little Torch Key. The top spot went to the Gasparilla Inn & Club in the small beachfront town of Boca Grande.

The list marks the second time this year the Eau Palm Beach has been honored by a major travel publication.

In February, the Eau was one of two Palm Beach County resorts to earn top honors from Forbes Travel Guide. Both the Eau and the Four Seasons Palm Beach received Forbes’ Five-Star Award — the highest designation.

RELATED: Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa receives Forbes five-star rating

The Eau, located on a 7-acre site with ocean views and lush tropical gardens, underwent a major transformation in 2013 — dropping the Ritz-Carlton name and re-branding itself as a beachfront getaway for both out-of-town guests and locals looking for a beachfront retreat.

It’s amenities include an award-winning spa; four restaurants and lounges; three Har-Tru clay tennis courts; two pools; children and teen clubs and more than 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.

Chinese President Xi Jinping stayed at the resort when he traveled to Palm Beach County in March to meet with President Donald Trump — a visit that put an international spotlight on the hotel.

President Xi’s visit marked the second time in five years that a president stayed at the property.

Former President Barack Obama spent a night at the resort while on the campaign trail in 2012. The property was still operating under the Ritz-Carlton brand during Obama’s stay.

 

 

British Airways to launch nonstop service between Ft. Lauderdale and London

British Airways on Thursday will launch new nonstop service between Ft. Lauderdale and London’s Gatwick Airport.

The flight marks the airline’s first schedule commercial service from  Broward County’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, officials said.

British Airways will offer service on the route on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, the airport said.

Airport officials said the new service will not only connect Ft. Lauderdale and London, but will also provide a link to more than 150 destinations around the world.

 

 

This Florida attraction was named the world’s top amusement park by TripAdvisor

Universal’s Islands of Adventure was recently named the world’s top amusement park by TripAdvisor — marking the third consecutive year the Orlando-area attraction has earned the coveted title.

Three weeks after the grand opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, guests jam the attraction, shortly after the Islands of Adventure park opening on July 9, 2010, at Universal Orlando in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS)

Orlando’s Discover Cove took the second spot on the list, while Disney’s Magic Kingdom came in 4th place.

RELATED: Is Lion Country Safari going to be sold?

Universal Studios Florida and Disney’s Animal Kingdom — both in Orlando — also made the list.

For water parks, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Aquatica Orlando both ranked among the best in the world.  Siam Park, a Thai-themed aquatic facility, topped TripAdvisor’s Water Parks list for the fourth consecutive year.

TripAdvisor said award winners were determined using an algorithm that took into account the quantity and quality of reviews and ratings for amusement parks and water parks worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period.

Here are TripAdvisor’s complete lists:

Top 10 Amusement Parks in the World:

  1. Universal’s Islands of Adventure – Orlando, Florida
  2. Discovery Cove – Orlando, Florida
  3. Europa-Park – Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
  4. Magic Kingdom – Orlando, Florida
  5. Universal Studios Hollywood – Los Angeles, California
  6. Le Puy du Fou – Les Epesses, France
  7. Beto Carrero World – Penha, State of Santa Catarina, Brazil
  8. Universal Studios Florida – Orlando, Florida
  9. Epcot – Orlando, Florida
  10. Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Orlando, Florida

Top 10 Water Parks in the World:

  1. Siam Park – Tenerife, Spain
  2. Beach Park – Aquiraz, State of Ceara, Brazil
  3. Waterbom Bali – Kuta, Indonesia
  4. Aquaventure Waterpark – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  5. Thermas dos Laranjais – Olimpia, State of Sao Paulo, Brazil
  6. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – Orlando, Florida
  7. Hot Park – Rio Quente, State of Goias, Brazil
  8. Wild Wadi Waterpark – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  9. Aquatica Orlando – Orlando, Florida
  10. Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Top 10 Amusement Parks in the U.S.:

  1.  Universal’s Islands of Adventure – Orlando, Florida
  2. Discovery Cove – Orlando, Florida
  3. Magic Kingdom – Orlando, Florida
  4. Universal Studios Hollywood – Los Angeles, California
  5. Universal Studios Florida – Orlando, Florida
  6. Epcot – Orlando, Florida
  7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Orlando, Florida
  8. SeaWorld Orlando – Orlando, Florida
  9. Disney California Adventure Park – Anaheim, California
  10. Disneyland Park – Anaheim, California

Top 10 Water Parks in the U.S.:

  1. Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park – Orlando, Florida
  2. Aquatica Orlando – Orlando, Florida
  3. Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park – Orlando, Florida
  4. Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari – Santa Claus, Indiana
  5. Water Country USA – Williamsburg, Virginia
  6. Noah’s Ark Water Park – Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
  7. Splash Lagoon Indoor Water Park Resort – Erie, Pennsylvania
  8. Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Water Parks – Wildwood, New Jersey
  9. Waldameer Park & Water World – Erie, Pennsylvania
  10. Water World – Federal Heights, Colorado