News from Long Beach hotels in Tahoe

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In this week’s “Get a Room” we have disturbing news from Long Beach regarding the much-loved Queen Mary, a Southern California institution; Ritz-Carlton sells an extravagant shameless winter travel package (to the tune of $ 25,000 per night) San Francisco-Lake Tahoe; and, in Hawaii, #vanlife is getting even more ridiculous – and controversial.

The combined forces of #vanlife influencers and a global pandemic have helped make life on the road trendy for the past two years. Now, the motorhome trend is a problem in Hawaii. The islands, which saw an increase in visitors after the introduction of vaccinations and the relaxation of travel restrictions earlier this year, are struggling with overtourism issues, including damage from a deluge of people in fragile ecosystems, congested two-lane roads and compacted housing markets.

While motorhomes are as much a means of transport as they are accommodation, the real tension surrounding them gives them the status of mobile hotel rooms. If this were just another rental car, the biggest burden they would present would be their impacts on traffic, parking, possibly air quality. But the issues that campers raise for the islands are bigger, and there is now a growing debate about how they should be managed.

Currently, RVs are not permitted in most state parks, a notable difference from most of the continental United States, where they are treated like any other vehicle. But in Hawaii, “good luck trying to find a place to spend the night,” writes a Hawaii News Now op-ed. With the exception of Maui’s Waianapanapa State Park, Hawaii State Parks only allow tent camping. It is also forbidden to sleep in a motorhome when it is parked on the side of the road. But now the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, which oversees crowded state parks, is considering changing its rules due to an “explosion of interest in vehicle camping,” according to an editorial from Honolulu Civil Beat.

But given the long simmering tensions between locals and tourists on the islands, it’s hard to imagine that potential changes won’t meet with resistance, such as a commentary on the Civil Beat story from a Kaui resident. : “This is exactly why Kaua’i opposed the SuperFerries. Our small island is heavily affected by visitor tourism, disproportionately, due to the ratio of limited shorelines to tourist volumes. Local residents struggle to find access to the park or use our own beaches, and the idea of ​​hordes of RVs / vans etc.

JCB Lounge, Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Scott Chebegia / Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton

For just $ 25,000 per night, you can also take a four-day trip to SF and Tahoe.

Lest anyone think Lake Tahoe is a quick and relatively affordable weekend away from the Bay Area, the Ritz-Carlton has created a quirky – and extremely ostentatious – way for lovers of these two California places. to visit both in one and the same two. hotel, outrageously expensive four-day package: the “organized” route of $ 25,000 per day dubbed “City to Slopes”.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Chris Cypert / Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton

So what do you get for a four-day, $ 100,000 vacation – for what a house costs in some parts of the country? At the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, you’ll have “extravagant shopping sprees, wine and caviar tastings” and “awesome live entertainment”. Things like a private tasting at the opulent Jean-Charles Boisset Tasting Lounge, tickets to Dear San Francisco, “the top flight acrobatics show at Club Fugazi” and what is, apparently, a $ 115 candle ” inspired by founder Albert Krigler’s trip to California. ”From there, you’ll take“ private air transport ”(via Surf Air) to Tahoe, where you’ll be feasted with a“ private chef’s table experience ”and“ unprecedented adventures at the foot of the slopes ”. It’s not a bad way to spend the equivalent of four years of college tuition on a long weekend.


The Queen Mary saga continues in the LBC

For those who have followed the ongoing crisis in one of the country’s only and best-known (i.e. boat hotels, for the uninitiated), a freshly completed survey sheds light on the saga from the historic Queen Mary of Long Beach.

As first reported in The Long Beach Post, the city’s auditor has finally completed a comprehensive two-year study into what led to the ship’s extreme neglect and risk of capsizing. Then, on Wednesday, a federal judge threatened to arrest the former operators of Queen Mary’s, whom he called “fraudsters” for their use of wage protection loans, according to a report by Kelly Puente of the Post.

The Queen Mary in 1989, owned by Disney.

The Queen Mary in 1989, under the ownership of Disney.

George Rose / Getty Images

The report is likely particularly troubling to Long Beach taxpayers, who foot the bill for the $ 23 million in “contract margins, unnecessary projects and overpayments” for vessel maintenance. But for the rest of us who just hope the Queen Mary survives and reopens to the public, the listener’s report is not reassuring.

Among his findings: Urban Commons had little oversight from the city, resulting in some eyebrow-raising business deals, including former Urban Common chief Dan Zaharoni appearing to hand over contracts without tendering to companies with which he had ties, including one with which his father is listed as the CEO.

“Urban Commons ultimately turned out to be a bad partner that did not live up to expectations or perform by city standards and expectations,” Modica wrote. “… History has shown over the past 40 years that a new model is warranted for this asset. “

What this model will look like is extremely fuzzy, which means the future of the Queen Mary is too.

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