Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts

Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts



DE 303 | Philadelphia

Thinking of traveling to Philadelphia but don’t know where to start? Andy McNeill has brought in experts to help you straighten out your Philly travel plans! Chef Jose Garces is an Iron Chef, father, husband, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator. As a child of immigrants and a leader in the diverse and inclusive hospitality industry, the well-being of his community in Philadelphia has always been dear to Chef Garces’ heart. He shares his favorite spots in the area and where you can visit him for top-tier Spanish and Latin-American food. JoAnn Wrenn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel and oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia. Tune in as she shares her favorite vacation spots and fun activities you can try out even within their hotel premises. Find out why Philadelphia might be the ideal place for your next event destination.

Watch the episode here

 

Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts With Chef Jose Garces And The Logan Hotel’s JoAnn Wrenn

For the first part of this Philadelphia episode, Andy McNeill chats with Iron Chef, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator Chef Jose Garces about his work in the area, not only in the culinary space but for the community as well. Chef Jose discusses his culinary journey, having Ecuadorian ancestry, growing up in Chicago, working in New York, and ultimately becoming a chef in Philadelphia and earning the title of Iron Chef.

Chef Jose Garces Restaurants To Add To Your Bucket List

With famed success in his field, Chef Jose has numerous restaurants to choose from and enjoy a quality culinary experience. Here are some of them:

  • Amada – Spanish cuisine
  • Distrito – Mexican cantina and taqueria
  • The Olde Bar – seafood-centric restaurant
  • Volvér – Basque restaurant
  • Hook & Master – Pizza and seafood concept
  • Livy’s Plant-Based Food (virtual; ghost kitchen) – Plant-based burger joint
  • Rustika Pollo A la Brasa (virtual; ghost kitchen) – Peruvian rotisserie chicken concept

Up-and-Coming Areas And Favorite Spots

Philly has a lot to offer for culinary travelers. East Passyunk is a cool pocket of up-and-coming chefs and restaurateurs who’ve created a niche neighborhood with fun bars and restaurants. On the other hand, there’s a huge Ethiopian population welcomed in the West end as well.

Another famous spot is the Reading Terminal Market which offers around 30 vendors and farmers and their goods that range from jams, jellies, donuts, fishmongers, fresh produce markets, coffee shops, etc. One of Chef Jose’s favorites is a crepe sandwich shop called La Creperie.

On the Southside, Ardmore Farmers Market is another burgeoning food scene. Chef Jose also recommends checking out college town, Manayunk, and a great park with walking trails in Wissahickon Valley Park. The main streets of Manayunk also offer tons of restaurants like The Landing Kitchen and Winnie’s, and great coffee shops such as Volo Coffeehouse.

Chef Jose Garces also briefly shares his Iron Man journey, and his nonprofit work with Garces Foundation, which focuses on helping out the immigrant community in Philadelphia and the non-documented restaurant workers looking for healthcare benefits.

JoAnn Wrenn On The Logan Hotel

For the second part of this Philadelphia Special, Andy and Todd sit down with JoAnn Wrenn. JoAnn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel, where she oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia. She is also a recipient of the Sage Hospitality Eagles Award, the highest honor you can receive at Sage Hospitality.

Philadelphia’s Art Scene

The Logan Hotel is home to 1800 pieces of art located throughout the hotel’s lobby level, meeting spaces, and guest rooms. At every turn, you can enjoy amazing paintings, statues, art installations, and more. JoAnn’s personal favorite is the Elite Silhouettes chandelier you can see as you look up from the lobby.

Unique Events At The Logan

The Logan offers an array of fun and creative activities for guests to enjoy, including Live Logan, an event programming initiative aimed at the local community with the goal of treating locals and guests to fun experiences. The Live Logan program covers a lot of things:

  • Mimosas and Massages for Mother’s Day
  • Underground Spa
  • Bring Your Own Makeup
  • Holiday Wreath Making
  • International Women’s Day Flower Making and Postcard Sending
  • Yoga With Puppies

The Logan Hotel also has an unbelievable outdoor courtyard for special events. During the pandemic, it became a “micro” wedding haven for couples who wish to get married but have had all their plans squashed by unexpected circumstances.

Art In Residence Program

The hotel also offers a special program for artists where they donate wall space to artists and organizations to showcase their work. This is an important program for them to build community connections and really highlight Philadelphia’s art scene.

About Chef Jose Garces

DE 303 | PhiladelphiaIron Chef, father, husband, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator, Chef Jose Garces is known as a leading culinary authority on Spanish and Latin-American food. From the Spanish tapas at Amada, his first restaurant, to the exciting flavors of Mexico City at Distrito, Chef Garces continually pushes the boundaries of culinary excellence While he maintains his successful career owning and operating full-service restaurants, Chef Garces is also looking toward the future, with an increased focus on bringing restaurant-quality experiences to the homes and businesses of culinary enthusiasts in new and interesting ways. From enhanced home delivery options and virtual online cooking demos, to live online cooking classes, Chef Garces is excited to connect with both fans of his work on television, as well as the home cook who’d like to experience “chef life” in their own kitchen.

As a child of immigrants and a leader in the diverse and inclusive hospitality industry, the well-being of his community in Philadelphia has always been dear to Chef Garces’ heart. To help provide ongoing and actionable assistance to the immigrant community, Chef Garces co-founded The Garces Foundation in 2011. The Garces Foundation provides services, including community health days, English language skills classes that target the restaurant industry, and most recently, an increased focus on procuring and providing food supplies to the food insecure.

About JoAnn Wrenn

DE 303 | PhiladelphiaJoAnn Wrenn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel, where she oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia, including departmental management, sales and marketing, recruitment, and ensuring an authentic hospitality experience for guests inspired by the heart and soul of the city.

Wrenn arrived at The Logan from JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek, whereas General Manager for four years she cultivated a collaborative team and created a climate of creative thinking, innovation, and superior service. The hotel was the second in Denver to tap Wrenn’s talents: She also spent four years first as Area Director of Sales & Marketing, then as General Manager of The Curtis Denver – A Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.

Previously, Wrenn rose in management on the sales side at luxury and upscale hotel and resort properties, including as Director of Sales at The Paramount Hotel, an Ian Schrager property in New York City; Director of Sales & Marketing at Wyndham Bristol Hotel in Washington, DC; and Director of Sales at Wyndham Dublin Hotel in Ohio. Wrenn got her start in the industry as a Front Desk Associate at Wyndham San Antonio Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

A native of Philadelphia, Wrenn has received several recognitions for her professional prowess over the years. During her turn as GM of JW Marriott Cherry Creek in 2016, Condé Nast Traveler ranked property #9 among Top Hotels in the American West. In 2020 Wrenn was awarded Sage Hospitality’s highest honor- the Eagle Award. Presented to the team member who exhibits outstanding overall leadership not just within their location, but across the entire portfolio. Her perseverance, resourcefulness, and grit are in no doubt contributing factors to The Logan’s continued inclusion on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hotels in Philadelphia list as well as the property’s current nomination for Travel & Leisure’s 2021 World’s Best Awards.

Top 5 Beach Destinations With Alex Malebranche (Spotlight Episode)

Top 5 Beach Destinations With Alex Malebranche (Spotlight Episode)



DE 304 Alex | Beach Destinations

Looking for corporate incentive travel tips? In this episode, Todd Bludworth sits down with Alex Malebranche to discuss their favorite travel and beach destinations! Alex is the founder of PlaneAhead and has traveled in about 30 countries—and counting! His love for travel was also what inspired his company, PlaneAhead, where he helps his customers get the best airline prices for their trips. Tune in as he discusses how you can save on your next flight!

Watch the episode here

Top 5 Beach Destinations With Alex Malebranche (Spotlight Episode)

In this episode, host Todd Bludworth sits down with PlaneAhead Founder Alex Malebranche to discuss their favorite travel and beach destinations. Alex has travelled in over 30 countries and has been a frequent flyer since he was young. According to him, “The world is such a cool place, I need to go see different parts of the world.”

Favorite Travel Spots:

In the 30 countries that Alex has been to, he lists some of his favorite locations. The Maldives is the most amazing from a water perspective. The Maldives is hundreds of islands and you need to travel via seaplane. From an architectural perspective, Dubai is probably the most incredible thing you’ll see where you’ll think of buildings that aren’t supposed to look like that.

The Idea Behind PlaneAhead

The serendipitous occasion that sparked the idea for PlaneAhead was simple. Alex’s sister was getting married but because of COVID, it got pushed back. He persistently checked in with his local airline and when he found a sale, Alex received $700 back in credit. And he used that credit to bring his family, and then a newborn baby, for a vacation at the Hilton. Fast forward to him messaging more of the entourage for his sister’s wedding and them saving a total of $2,500 of credit. There was no reason why this kind of system shouldn’t exist so Alex made it so through PlaneAhead.

Benefits of PlaneAhead

Aside from the huge cost savings from using the platform, there are many more features and benefits to using PlaneAhead. Here are some of them:

  • Serves both corporate and individual customers
  • Runs on a membership model
  • Triggers your personal email for changes
  • There’s no one else like them

Top 5 Beach Destinations

Saving on one trip means you have more to spare for the next one! Here are Alex’s top five beach destinations for your next event destination travel!

  • Maldives
  • Australia
  • Barcelona
  • Anguilla
  • San Diego

About Alex Malebranche

DE 304 Alex | Beach DestinationsAlex Malebranche is the founder of PlaneAhead. He is a passionate traveler and has traveled to about 30 countries! He is a husband and father of 2 beautiful girls!
Alex grew up in Chicago, IL, and was raised by his Haitian immigrant single mother. As a first-generation immigrant, he was inspired by his mother and determined to make a difference. Alex is a graduate of Miami University, where he studied Accounting all while serving in the US Army. After his time studying, Alex worked for innovative companies and worked in a fast-paced work environment such as Amazon. He was the first employee on the delivery team at a WiFi-driven tech unicorn, Plume.

His passion for travel started when I studied abroad in Australia. As he visited other countries, he started to learn about different cultures and developed a sense of awareness, empathy, respect, and curiosity for people around the world.
Alex founded PlaneAhead in March 2021 during the pandemic. Driven to make a change in the travel industry, Alex is devoted to innovating the way we travel and creating opportunities to make traveling the world more accessible.

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Best Airport Hotels That Are Taking-Off

Best Airport Hotels That Are Taking-Off

DE 47 | Best Airport Hotels   For convenience and ease of access, nothing beats a hotel at an airport. We take a look at some of the very best airport hotels. Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth shine a spotlight on several airport hotels that they feel are must-visits. Andy and Todd discuss Atlanta, Chicago, Orlando, Denver, and Boston, home to some of the best airport hotels in the US and talk about what makes these places great. Tune in and learn more about the best hotels to stay at when you’re on the go.   Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

Best Airport Hotels That Are Taking-Off

Airport Hotels are just one of many kinds of accommodations a traveler can take advantage of after getting off their flight. In this episode, Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth shine a spotlight on several airport hotels that they feel are ready to hit the big time.  
  1. Atlanta Airport Marriott
Located on 14 scenic acres near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta Airport Marriott is a large city oasis that can accommodate small and large groups. The hotel provides access to the airport with their 24-hour complimentary shuttle service. It’s not only great for a quick overnight if you get delayed or something, but it’s also convenient to the downtown area and only 10 minutes away from the Georgia World Congress Center.   Hotel Highlights: Add adventure to your stay by curating honey on-site. The hotel has their own hives where they harvest the honey throughout the year for use in their restaurants. You can also check out Tiny Doors ATL, an Atlanta-based art project, starting with the two private installations right on the property.  
  1. Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel
If you’re in Chicago for a layover or hosting a meeting, Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel is a great choice. With 53,000 square feet of chic meeting space, you can pretty much do anything you want there. They also have a great selection of restaurants, including McCormick & Schmick’s and Capital Grille, which makes a huge difference when you’re trying to grab a nice quick bite or have a business meeting.   Hotel Highlights: The hotel offers the best in modern dining experiences. They have McCormick & Schmick’s and Capital Grille, which makes a huge difference when you’re trying to grab a quick bite or have a business meeting.  
  1. Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport
Located inside the main terminal at MCO, this hotel boasts of soundproof newly renovated rooms that invite you to sleep soundly. It is also just an escalator ride from the airport security checkpoints, making it super convenient for regional or even national meetings.   Hotel Highlights: Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport’s central location inside MCO provides easy access to all the things you want to enjoy in the city, including theme parks, golf, shopping in Lake Nona, and other activities. It is also conveniently located near Nemours Children’s Hospital.  
  1. Westin Denver International Airport
Located 35 minutes from downtown Denver, the Westin provides a convenient destination for global travelers with world-class amenities, including a 37,500- square feet of meeting and conference space.   Hotel Highlights: Guests of the Westin are just a short elevator ride down to the convenient Transit Center Bag Drop. You can also enjoy their huge fitness facility and heated indoor pool.  
  1. Grand Hyatt San Francisco
If you’re looking for a place to get in and out quickly on the west coast, this hotel is a great choice. It recently opened in 2019, so it’s technically brand new. You can enjoy stunning views of the Bay and airport from the floor-to-ceiling windows of their luxurious rooms. Culinary options include fine dining at Quail & Crane, the Twin Crafts Bar, and the Twin Crafts Market which is open 24 hours and provides in-room dining.   Hotel Highlights: The hotel offers soundproof guest rooms, specially curated art collection, a 1,500-square-foot fitness center, yoga and massage treatment room, and lush native landscaping and green areas.  
  1. Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport
Located within the McNamara terminal of DTW Airport, The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport provides a seamless travel experience. You can bypass the long wait using the direct access from their lobby to a private airport security line. The recently renovated hotel includes 28,000 square feet of event space and a glass-enclosed sky deck and lounge.   Hotel Highlights: Check out the WestinWORKOUT® fitness center and work up a sweat with free weights, an indoor pool, and Peloton bikes, or enjoy fresh American fare paired with a glass of wine or craft beer at Reflections.  
  1. Hilton Boston Logan Airport Hotel
Experience Boston at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport Hotel. Check out Gastropub where you can get all the traditional stuff like clam chowder and fish-and-chips, and stay active with their fitness studio and an indoor swimming pool. They also offer guests 19,000 square feet of meeting space.   Hotel Highlights: The hotel is set in a Boston shopping area 4 km from the city center, a short drive from the Boston Children’s Museum, and located right next to the 9/11 Memorial.   See more of Andy and Todd’s many escapade reviews at www.destination-everywhere.com.
Four Tips For Choosing Your Next Corporate Meeting Destination

Four Tips For Choosing Your Next Corporate Meeting Destination

DE 38 | Corporate Destination

 

Choosing the right corporate destination contributes a lot to having a successful – and memorable – business trip or event. But it is more than just choosing a lovely place and going there. Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth share their most important tips when picking event destinations for a corporate purpose. Looking into their own experiences, the two break down how to make meetings and events as organized as they can be by learning the proper way of determining the most suitable place out there.

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

Four Tips For Choosing Your Next Corporate Meeting Destination

Your chosen destination for a formal business event can make or break your trip. Therefore, in-depth planning is required when picking a venue for such an important gathering. With various factors to consider, remember that it is not only about the place’s overall atmosphere. Instead, you must also take into consideration the current weather, the activities you want to perform, and a lot more.

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth look back on their own corporate travel experiences to list down seven essential business tips in finding the perfect business destination out there.

  1. Contact the local CVB

The Convention and Visitors Bureau or CVB serves as a wealth of knowledge about a particular area. Through their help, you can discover what to expect in that place, from what kind of venues you can rent to which restaurants you can dine in.

Moreover, CVBs typically offer incentives to bring in business. By taking advantage of their rebates, you can get access to special deals and build direct relationships with other businesses within the local community.

  1. Create a list of top things you want to do

Narrow down your choices by listing down everything you want to do once you are at the destination. Be specific with each one so you can come up with the best keywords and make your research more targeted and quicker.

  1. Consider the time of year based on the destination

A simple Google search will help you discover the weather in your chosen destination depending on the time of the year. For example, heading to Florida in the summertime will make your nose a little hot and sticky, but visit San Diego in June and expect to have an awesome time.

With this information, you can carefully choose the most appropriate month and date for your trip to ensure an optimal and memorable experience.

  1. Do a quick Google Map search

After deciding the venue for your event, it is time to know the establishments next or near it. Again, a quick online search will help with this. Using Google Maps, you can see detailed pictures of the buildings and neighborhoods around the hotel’s vicinity. This can contribute to your activity planning around the area, from comfortable walking/jogging paths to biking/skiing lanes.

Most importantly, checking out Google Maps will allow you to estimate travel times between your venue and the places you want to visit. 

  1. Get in touch with the hotel concierge

Aside from your salesperson or conference service person, the hotel concierge is your next best source of information. They will be your best friend not only in getting directions but also in embracing the place’s overall feel. In fact, they can even assist you in choosing the loveliest restaurants around to get the most exquisite food.

  1. Research about lifts

Although it seems not that necessary, checking available lifts within your chosen venue is a great idea. This can determine if the attendees will either have an easy or hard time reaching and leaving your venue. Once more, looking up the features of the place online can greatly help you in discovering the lifts’ location and how to access them.

  1. Read reviews about the venue

Finally, secure your trust in your chosen venue by searching reviews about it on the internet. This will offer you a general idea of their services, the level of their customer service, and any edge it has against other potential venues.

Another great sign of a good hotel is if they keep an active account in online forums. They may also be interacting with former guests by leaving replies on the reviews about them, both favorable and not.

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Hong Kong

Hong Kong

DE 45 Simon Gilkes | Hong Kong   The bustling city of Hong Kong is not only a famed tourist location, but it also boasts a bustling business sector. In this episode of Destination Everywhere, your hosts Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth take you to Hong Kong to showcase its endless charms for business and event travel. They are joined by James LaValle, Manager of Conventions, Exhibitions, and Corporate Events for the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and Simon Gilkes, Director of Sales and Marketing for Rosewood Hotels Hong Kong. They discuss the numerous destination spots ideal for exploration on your next business travel. They also enumerate the wide array of activities they offer for group incentive travels. Get to know the multicultural global hotspot and what else you can look forward to in Hong Kong.   Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels in Hong Kong to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

Hong Kong

Todd And Andy’s Destination Favorites in Hong Kong Hosts Todd Bludworth and Andy McNeill list down some of their favorite areas to frequent in Hong Kong for a great experience.
  • Lion Rock Country Park
  • Art Basel
  • Hollywood Road
  • Happy Valley Racecourse
  • Dragon Boat Festival in Victoria Harbor
  • Symphony of Light show
Hong Kong And Some Misconceptions James Lavalle, Manager of Conventions, Exhibitions, and Corporate Events for the Hong Kong Tourism Board, joins this episode to share the beauty of Hong Kong. One of the most confusing topics for tourists concerns Hong Kong’s geography and government. Hong Kong is a part of China but, like Macau, is considered a special administrative region. It is distinct and separate but still certainly a part of China in an indirect manner. One misconception related to this is the language barrier. As a by-product of 99 years under British colonial rule, English has become the language of business and service in Hong Kong. This only adds to the culturally diverse air of Hong Kong, where Western influences meet Asian tradition. Must-Do Activities In Hong Kong for Every Traveler
  • Engulf in the skyline view offered by the Harbor Cruise
  • Enjoy the mountains at Victoria Peak
  • Immerse in ancient temples and;
  • Explore fishing villages In Lantau Island
Team Building Activities To Enjoy For Group Incentive Travels
  • Dragon Boat Racing
  • Tai Chi Class
  • Tea Appreciation Classes
  • Cooking classes ranging from Michelin to Disney
  • Sound Baths and Forest Therapy
Immerse In Authentic And Innovative Cuisines As one of the most multicultural cities in Asia, you can experience a full range of cuisines and gourmet dishes from the global scene. For a taste that is uniquely Hong Kong, here are some places to check out:
  • Dai Pai Dong food stalls
  • Fresh seafood from the fishing villages in Sai Kung
  • Alving Yeung’s Bo Innovation
  • Tim Ho Wan
  • And more
Eye-catching Venues Of The Past And Upcoming Venues For Future Visits Hong Kong does not fall behind when it comes to historical sites and extends its uniqueness to them as well. Here are some of the must-see historic developments:
  • Heritage 1881
  • PMQ
  • Tai Kwun Heritage Center
Hong Kong also boasts exciting new and upcoming projects that will spice up any future business event you’re planning. Take note of these locations:
  • Rosewood Hong Kong
  • New Marriot Hotels by the Ocean Park
  • Asia World Expo
  • 11 Skies, the largest dining and entertainment district in Hong Kong
  • Upcoming 1000-room Sheraton project
  • K11 Luxury Art Mall
  • Hotel Alexandra
Hong Kong is an ideal destination for every season. Summer is perfect for short-haul, domestic travel, fall for long-haul business meetings and incentives, and the great winter weather makes for a fantastic experience. Find the best deals and group rates from July through August, November through mid-December, and January to early March. The Rosewood Hotel: Home Away From Home Simon Gilkes, Director of Sales and Marketing for Rosewood Hong Kong, explains the appeal of their successful array of luxury hotels and what it’s offering in its Hong Kong branch located at the Victoria Dockside Arts and Design District. It’s steps away from the Museum Mile and Avenue of Stars and sits in the middle of the bustling shopping district. The hotel’s ethos to offer a sense of place to it’s a guest, a sense of being home away from home. Even for business events, it provides a comforting space to unwind while having dedicated areas for any agenda including beautiful ballrooms, a foyer with a large English-style garden and a destination bar for event guests. They also offer an elevated and more intimate C-level event experience with their Pavilion floors. Special Guest Experiences
  • Dim Sum Making
  • Feng-shui Masterclass
  • Cultural Concierge Tour Guides
  • Chinese Tea Masterclass
  • Mountain Hiking and Beach activities
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