More than a dozen PBC hotels win AAA’s Four Diamond award

More than a dozen Palm Beach County hotels and bed and breakfasts have earned AAA’s Four Diamond award.

The coveted ratings are among highest honors from the travel group.

Three local hotels – Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manalapan, the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, and The Breakers in Palm Beach – received AAA Five Diamond rating.

Fourteen others earned AAA Four Diamond award.

Eau Palm Beach (provided)
Eau Palm Beach (provided)

“This area is known as the best way to experience Florida, so it’s no surprise that multiple hotels in The Palm Beaches have received the prestigious AAA Five Diamond and Four Diamond Ratings,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO for Discover The Palm Beaches, the official tourism marketing corporation for Palm Beach County. “Our hotels consistently provide guests with truly exceptional experiences.”

Every year AAA reviews more than 28,000 hotels including resorts, historic inns, B&Bs and other hotels.

Of the 118 hotels that received Five Diamond awards, 12 are in Florida.

Roughly 1,500 hotels earned Four Diamond awards. Of those, 136 are in Florida.

“These unparalleled properties offer the best possible way to vacation,” Pesquera said. “Genuine hospitality is truly a way of life for us. It is wonderful to see our hotels attain this level of recognition.”

Here is the list of local Four Diamond winners:

Boca Beach Club, A Waldorf Astoria ResortBoca Raton

Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria ResortBoca Raton

Waterstone Resort & Marina: A DoubleTree by HiltonBoca Raton

Delray Beach MarriottDelray Beach

Jupiter Beach Resort & SpaJupiter

Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside PlaceJupiter

Sabal Palm House Bed and Breakfast InnLake Worth

The Brazilian Court HotelPalm Beach

The Chesterfield Palm BeachPalm Beach

The Colony Palm BeachPalm Beach

Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa – Palm Beach, a Kimpton HotelPalm Beach

PGA National Resort & SpaPalm Beach Gardens

Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & SpaRiviera Beach

Casa Grandview Historic Luxury Inn Cottages and SuitesWest Palm Beach

 

 

 

1 billion served: Uber celebrates landmark ride

(Palm Beach Post staff file photo)
(Palm Beach Post staff file photo)

Uber has served its billionth customer, the company announced this week.

The lucky rider was Marvin, whose driver, Ara, took him on a £5 uberX ride through London on Christmas Eve, the company said.

The car: a blue Honda Insight Hybrid.

» RELATED: Read about Uber in Palm Beach County

 

“This holiday season, we’re feeling grateful and festive crossing this milestone as we close out the year,” the company said in a news release.

For being the billionth rider, Uber will give Marvin a year’s worth of free Uber rides, while Ara gets a vacation anywhere Uber serves.

Uber also said it will make a donation to the Hackney Pirates, a literacy nonprofit that serves the area of London where the billionth trip began.

 

5 things to know about All Aboard Florida and Brightline

(Provided)
(Provided)

As the new year begins, we’re betting All Aboard Florida’s plans for an intercity rail system in Florida will continue to be one of our top business stories.

Here are five things you need to know about the massive project.

1. It’s truly massive. The downtown Miami station is slated to have a footprint that spans six city blocks. The West Palm Beach station will be 60,000 square feet, and it’s paired with a plan for a rail-side apartment complex.

Read more about the planned stations.

2. You could ride a Brightline train by the end of 2017. The company plans to run 32 trains a day between Miami and Orlando with stops in West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Service between Miami and West Palm Beach is set to begin in 2017, with the West Palm-to-Orlando route set to open by the end of 2017.

3. Station construction already is happening. This month, engineers tested lighting for the signature V’s that mark the facade of its stations. Above-ground work is underway in Miami, and Florida East Coast Railway, All Aboard’s sister company, has been adding a second line of tracks along its route to accommodate both freight and passenger trains.

4. All Aboard Florida didn’t change its name to Brightline. Rather, Brightline is the official brand name of the rail line.

5. The project has its detractors. Citing safety and economic concerns, groups including Florida Not All Aboard and Citizens Against Rail Expansion have launched campaigns against All Aboard Florida. Martin and Indian River counties have pledged money to fight the rail line. Opponents also have fought to block the company from issuing bonds to pay for the project.

Get more details on All Aboard Florida and Brightline.

October hotel bookings grow in Palm Beach County

The hotel occupancy rate in Palm Beach County grew slightly in October, while the cost of a nightly hotel stay continued to climb.

Travellers dining and shopping at PBIA
Travellers dining and shopping at PBIA

In October, there were 499,255 nightly bookings available in the county’s hotels and motels, according to the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council. Roughly 345,500 of those nightly bookings were sold to out-of-town visitors and other guests.

The bookings mark a 2.9 percent increase over Oct. 2014, according to the council.

The cost of a nightly hotel stay in October was $132.27, up 5.6 percent from Oct. 2014.

Meanwhile, the countywide hotel occupancy rate stood at 69.2 percent in October, up just under a percent from Oct. 2014.

WestJet starts new service at PBIA

WestJet touched down at Palm Beach International Airport on Friday, offering twice a week service to Toronto. WestJet plane at PBI 2

The low-cost carrier’s inaugural flight between Palm Beach County and Toronto Pearson International Airport arrived at about 10:30 a.m. with 96 passengers on board. The Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 series aircraft was one of WestJet’s two “Magic Planes” which feature custom paint jobs displaying Disney characters.

Canada is the county’s largest international tourism market, with visitors from the north making up about 46 percent of the international tourists who come to Palm Beach County.

This year, airlines are expected to offer roughly 49,500 seats between Canadian cities and PBIA. That number is expected to grow to nearly 60,000 next year, according to Discover The Palm Beaches, the county’s official tourism marketing organization.

WestJet plane at PBIOn a weekly basis, airlines offer more than 3,500 seats into PBIA from Canada. Between Jan. 30 and April, charter flights are expected to offered nearly 6,000 seats from Canada.

“We are hopeful that this will be a successful flight and will generate additional service into the airport from Canada,” Bruce Pelly, the director of Palm Beach County’s Department of Airports, said of WestJet’s new service.

Robert Palmer, WestJet’s manager of public relations, said Florida is a key destination for Canadian snowbirds and tourists. WestJet offers 105 weekly flights from 12 Canadian cities to 6 destinations in Florida.

But Palmer, who flew to PBIA on the inaugural flight,  said the airline hopes the new service will also bring Palm Beach County residents to Canada.

“We are looking forward to not only bringing Canadians back home, but to bringing some of you to Toronto and beyond,” Palmer said Friday.

WestJet will operate twice weekly — Monday and Friday — between PBIA and Toronto  The seasonal service runs through April 29. Palmer said bookings on the flights “look strong.”

Palm Beach County tourism leaders heralded the new flight.

“We’re thrilled that WestJet is providing another easy and convenient direct flight option for our Canadian visitors,” said Jorge Pesquera, president and CEO of Discover The Palm Beaches. “The highest percentage of our destination’s international tourists are traveling from Canada, because we truly offer what Canadians are specifically seeking in a vacation. We’re confident that with our significantly increased marketing and sales investment in the Toronto market, this additional direct flight option will result in increased Canadian visitation. This WestJet route will encourage even more Canadians to discover what makes The Palm Beaches the best way to experience Florida.”