Day: November 28, 2020

As hotel occupancy drops, some Albany hotels close again

ALBANY— With another wave of coronavirus infections surging across the country, fewer people are staying at hotels, making the already slow winter season even more intimidating for hotel owners.

At the end of October, the country saw the lowest occupancy levels since mid-June. This month that level continued to slip lower, while short-term rentals, like Airbnb, are selling better than hotel rooms, according to data from industry monitor STR.

In response, hotels in the Capital region have made a wide array of decisions from closing temporarily to adding apartment-style rooms and virtual learning packages trying to preserve their business.

Hotels in upstate New York have not been evenly hit. Full-service hotels in Albany that rely on corporate travel or their guests coming for restaurants and bars inside the hotel are struggling, while hotels that provide easy access to nature and social distancing activities like those in Lake George and Lake Placid are having record success.

“Since we reopened in late June, we are busier than we can ever remember,” said Seth Dow, the front-office manager at Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid. “Lake Placid in general has not been this busy since the 1980 Olympics.”

Two hotels that were delinquent on their loans in September are now approaching foreclosure. There are now seven hotels in total in the region delinquent on their loans, up from five in September, according to data compiled by industry analyst Trepp.

In Albany, two hotels that reopened on Oct. 1— The Spring Hill Suites and The Holiday Inn Express— have closed yet again.

“It was bad, it was like two guests a day or three. No one was traveling anyway…” said Vicky Sindhu, the operating manager at the Holiday Inn Express, about the month of October. “There (were) no government officials, no trips, no events.”

In Saratoga Springs, The Gideon Putman hotel, starting this month, will not be open to overnight guests until April 2021, but its spa will remain open to visitors.

The Pavilion Grand Hotel, which originally was slated to be condominiums, has now converted all of their hotel rooms to apartments. As of Nov. 1 their length-of-stay requirement is a one-week minimum. They started accepting one-year rentals in September.

“It is more like a home now versus just a hotel stay,” said Susanne Simpson, the director of the hotel’s Hospitality Division. “When COVID-19 struck we had a lot of our clients that were very interested in renting much longer term because of the style of our hotel.”

Terra Stratton from the Washington Park Group echoed this. She is turning people away at their 4th Precinct Apartments in Center Square and she is building two private-entrance suites at their Washington Park Inn because of the high demand for rooms with private access.

Despite the trend, many full-service hotels located in downtown Albany are still struggling.

“Albany is very affordable for a stay right now,” said Bruce Rosenberg, the president of “I think hotels are taking the necessary steps to remain visible and

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Sterling Heights hotel in dispute with city alleges anti-Muslim, anti-refugee bias

The owner of a Sterling Heights hotel who is Muslim and of Pakistani descent alleges in a lawsuit filed Monday that city officials targeted and drove him out of business because of his faith and ethnicity and because he had housed about 200 Syrian refugees.

a large empty room: The owner of Wyndham Garden hotel in Sterling Heights near 15 Mile and Van Dyke has filed a lawsuit alleging anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistani bias.

© Shereef Akeel
The owner of Wyndham Garden hotel in Sterling Heights near 15 Mile and Van Dyke has filed a lawsuit alleging anti-Muslim, anti-Pakistani bias.

But on the same day, a Macomb County judge ruled against the hotel in a separate lawsuit that had been filed by city, agreeing with the city that the hotel had failed to meet safety regulations.

Asad Malik, the owner of Wyndham Garden on 15 Mile and Van Dyke and president of the Pakistani Association of America, says in a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Detroit that after he started housing Syrian refugees in 2016, the city started to slap him with citations for violations of fire codes that he said other hotels with similar problems were not receiving. The hotel closed in September. 

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Malik purchased the hotel in 2014. He is an active member of the Muslim community in metro Detroit as a leader with the Islamic Association of Greater Detroit in Rochester Hills and meets with elected officials who have visited the mosque over the years. 

The hotel was “opening her arms to refugees escaping from their war torn country,” his attorney Shereef Akeel, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sterling Hotels, told the Free Press. “The last thing you would think is then one of our own cites shutting the door on them. And now, my client has had to pay dearly for their act of generosity.”

The hotel started taking in Syrian refugees in November 2016, working with Samaritas, formerly known as Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, which helps resettle refugees.

Malik said he then received an email from the Sterling Heights city manager asking him: “Are there any Syrian refugees being housed at the Wyndham? A resident is alleging such at our council meeting.”

The targeted harassment started after that, with the fire marshal being directed by the city to single out the hotel for code violations such as outdated fire alarm systems, the lawsuit alleges. Other hotels owned by people who were not Muslim were not targeted in such a manner, Akeel said.

But the city of Sterling Heights strongly denies the allegations, saying the problem lies with the hotel refusing to adhere to fire codes and city regulations to ensure safety.

The city had filed a lawsuit against the hotel in 2018, alleging it had violated fire regulations that was jeopardizing safety. The city said the hotel had “high risk violations” throughout 2017. 

More: Detroit Archbishop to lead national Catholic group on Joe Biden and abortion

In June 2018, the judge issued a preliminary injunction banning overnight guests at the hotel. The hotel

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Bay Area tightens COVID-19 restrictions; Santa Clara County orders travel quarantine

As the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly worsens across California, San Francisco and San Mateo counties on Saturday were moved into the state’s most restrictive tier, which forces the closure of indoor gyms and movie theaters.

At the same time, Santa Clara County issued its own tightened COVID-19 rules that in some ways are stricter than the ones issued by Los Angeles County on Friday. Under Santa Clara County‘s directive, people must quarantine for 14 days upon return from travel of more than 150 miles, hotels will be open for only essential travel or isolation and quarantine, and nonessential retail establishments will be limited to 10% of capacity indoors, down from the current cap of 25%.

The backward steps come as hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have tripled in the last month, coming perilously close to exceeding their summer peak.

According to data released Saturday by the state Department of Public Health, on Friday there were 6,972 people infected with the coronavirus in hospitals statewide. On Oct. 25, that number was 2,254. The all-time high for hospitalizations is 7,170, set July 22.

In all, more than 1.18 million people have been infected with the coronavirus and more than 19,000 have died in California.

San Francisco had been able to avoid the state’s most restrictive “purple” tier, but the rate of new coronavirus cases in the Bay Area has continued to explode up in recent days. In just the last six weeks, weekly coronavirus cases have quadrupled, from about 200 a week in mid-October to about 900 a week now,

A Times analysis published Friday found that most California counties are now suffering their worst daily new coronavirus case rates of the pandemic, surpassing even the summer surge that forced officials to roll back the state’s first reopening.

The state Department of Public Health announced Saturday that six counties had fallen into the most restrictive tier of the state’s reopening framework: San Francisco, San Mateo, Plumas, Lake, Modoc and Calaveras counties. Three counties fell into the red tier: Mariposa, Inyo and Alpine.

The changes mean that 51 of California’s 58 counties are now in the purple tier, accounting for 99% of the state’s population, or 38.8 million people out of California’s 39.1 million residents. Purple tier counties are required to shut indoor operations of restaurants, gyms and houses of worship.

Counties in the purple tier are subject to the state’s limited overnight stay-at-home order, which prohibits all gatherings between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and all nonessential activities outside the home during those hours, with exceptions such as to get groceries, take walks with members of your household, pick up takeout food and work in essential industries such as meal preparation.

The only counties not in the purple tier are Marin, Amador, Plumas, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono and Alpine, which are in the red, or second-most restrictive tier, and Sierra, which is the orange tier, the third-most restrictive tier.

San Francisco had already ordered the shutdown of indoor restaurant dining rooms starting Nov. 14. Beginning

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Machine Gun Kelly on how Eminem feud affected ‘Hotel Diablo’: ‘That project wasn’t welcomed’

Machine Gun Kelly is reflecting on his feud with Eminem. 

Machine Gun Kelly, Tory Lanez, Zayn, Carrie Underwood headline new music out this weekend



The “Bloody Valentine” singer opened up in Interview Magazine about feeling misunderstood prior to the release of his 2020 album “Tickets to my Downfall.” Speaking with Dave Franco in an interview published Friday, Kelly explained that although he was proud of his 2019 album “Hotel Diablo,” he attributes its lack of critical praise to the “infamous beef” with Eminem. 

a man flying through the air while standing on a stage: Eminem, right, has taken direct aim at rival Machine Gun Kelly on his new track "Killshot."

© Getty Images/USA TODAY Sports
Eminem, right, has taken direct aim at rival Machine Gun Kelly on his new track “Killshot.”

“As a hip-hop album, (“Diablo” is) flawless front to back, and also a hint at the evolution of how I went into a pop-punk album. But it was coming off the tail-end of that infamous beef (with Eminem). So no one wanted to give it the time of day,” Kelly said.

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“It’s like if you make a (expletive) movie and then you come out with a great movie right after, but people want to focus on the fact that they hated whatever you just did. What I did in the beef was exactly what it should be, but that project wasn’t welcomed.”

Despite these past feelings of being misjudged, Kelly attributes his resulting indifference to critics for the success of “Tickets to my Downfall.”

“The next album came from already feeling like I’d counted out, so I didn’t even care what the public was going to think. That’s why the project was ironically my best received one, because it was the most effortless, with the least outside influence.” 

MGK: Machine Gun Kelly pivots to pop-punk on ‘Tickets to My Downfall’

The origins of the feud are in a 2012 tweet. Kelly made comments about Eminem’s daughter, Hailie, and called her “hot as (expletive).” The “Lose Yourself” rapper responded in September 2018 with a diss song, “Not Alike,” and Kelly followed with his own, “Rap Devil”  which Eminem countered with “Killshot.”

During the 2020 American Music Awards, Kelly performed “my ex’s best friend” and “Bloody Valentine” from this latest album. His girlfriend, Megan Fox, introduced Kelly’s performance, saying, “Once in a lifetime, magic can happen.” She added that the world has been under “the spell” of Kelly since his music debut in 2012.

Kelly made their relationship official with a black-and-white selfie Instagram post in August. The duo were sticking out their tongues.

“waited for eternity to find you again…” Kelly wrote, adding knife and heart emojis.

The couple starred together in Kelly’s music video “Bloody Valentine.” Fox has referred to Kelly as her “twin flame.”

MGK, Megan Fox: make red carpet debut at 2020 American Music Awards: ‘Magic can

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Venus Vacation Crossover Gets New Trailer Showing All the Waifus


Azur Lane publisher Yostar is continuing to promote the crossover with the popular free-to-play PC game Dead or Alive Xtreme: Venus Vacation.

Azur Lane publisher Yostar is continuing to promote the crossover with the popular free-to-play PC game Dead or Alive Xtreme: Venus Vacation.

This time around we get another trailer showing off all the girls from Dead or Alive included in the crossover and the available skins.

Nyotengu is a carrier, Honoka and Nagisa are turned into battleships, Monica is a light cruiser, and Marie Rose is inevitably turned into a destroyer.

You can check out the trailer below and take a look at an older one, which comes with anime style.

It’s worth mentioning that for now there is no information of a possible corresponding crossover in Dead or Alive Xtreme: Venus Vacation.

If you’re unfamiliar with Azur Lane, it’s is a free-to-play mobile horizontal scrolling shooter/RPG hybrid currently available for iOS and Android.

Recently, the game celebrated its third anniversary in Japan and you can check out the music video featuring popular musician T.M.Revolution and an anime-style trailer.

If you’re unfamiliar with Dead or Alive Xtreme: Venus Vacation, is a free-to-play version of Dead or Alive Xtreme available only on PC and it’s currently celebrating its third anniversary.

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Northfield mourns burned hotel that reached back 143 years

A little piece of Barb Budd’s family history, spanning four generations in Northfield, Minn., went up in flames this month.

Budd’s great-grandmother worked as a housekeeper in the late 1870s at the Archer House, a 143-year-old inn that was extensively damaged Nov. 12 after a kitchen fire spread through the structure. It’s closed at least through 2021 as owners determine if anything can be saved.

“It’s as devastating for me as for any of us,” said Budd, who’s lived in Northfield for all of her 64 years. “It’s such a tragedy, just so sad to see a beautiful, iconic and long-lived building go up like this — or come down for new development.”

Budd cherishes a brief about her great-grandparents’ wedding in the Northfield News on Nov. 29, 1879:

T.H. Budd, the west side barber, was married in Hastings on Tuesday, to Miss Nellie McGuire, an accomplished maid at the Archer House, this city. The happy pair returned to Northfield Tuesday night.

The T.H. should have read H.T., as in 21-year-old Henry Talford Budd, who in 1938 would be declared the “Oldest Active Barber in the U.S.A.” by Ripley’s Believe It or Not after working 68 years in the same Northfield shop.

Like Henry, Nellie was the child of Irish émigrés, arriving in Hastings with her large family in the 1850s. James Archer, the inn’s founder, had provided pioneer lodging on the stagecoach road near Hastings, and Jim McGuire of Minneapolis, a descendant of Nellie’s, assumes Archer brought her to Northfield when he opened the Archer House in 1877.

“I suspect Ellen was one of the original staff at the hotel, but I can’t prove it,” McGuire said. He notes the 1879 wedding blurb calls her an “accomplished maid” at a time when the Archer House was only two years old.

The 1880 federal census lists Nellie’s occupation as “Keeping house,” apparently her own home, meaning she no longer worked as a maid at the inn. Henry and Nellie had six children, including Barb Budd’s grandfather.

It’s those connections that can make a burned-out inn more than charred wreckage.

“It really was the heart of the community,” said Northfield historian Susan Hvistendahl, who wrote about the inn’s long history in 2011 (

One of the hotel’s owners, Brett Reese of Rebound Hospitality, told local radio station KYMN the day after the fire: “It’s very sad. We’re in mourning.” His thoughts were echoed by the president of the Northfield Chamber of Commerce, Lisa Peterson, who told the Star Tribune: “It feels like a death. It’s hard to think of it not being there.”

Northfield Fire Chief Gerry Franek told the Northfield News that the fire spread from a kitchen smoker through the walls, areas designed for pipes and cables, and hidden spots that fire crews couldn’t reach.

The hotel originally cost $13,000 to build, nearly $260,000 in today’s dollars. It opened with 50 rooms and a lavish gala on Aug. 23, 1877, only a year after citizens drove the James-Younger gang

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Save on future vacations with these Cyber Week deals

Atlantis Paradise is offering great Black Friday savings on future vacations. (Photo: Atlantis Paradise Island)

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

It goes without saying that traveling to fun, exotic spots or taking a glorious vacation is unlikely in the short term. Per regulations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nonessential travel is largely discouraged due to the COVID-19 pandemic—yet, after a tiring and stressful year, we understand why you may be eager to start planning something to look forward to in the future, once the curve settles. Enter: The tons of travel deals currently being offered for Black Friday 2020.

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This Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’ve done the research to help folks with a taste for travel save big on future getaways and remain optimistic for the coming brighter days ahead. With these travel deals, you’ll majorly save on tons of trips, ranging from gorgeous resorts in the Bahamas to handy discounts you can use on Amtrak trains. Many promotions allow you to book far in advance, while others are maintaining a close relationship with state or country officials to enforce the safety of everyone involved (there are even steps you can take to stay safe on your own). We’ve even read through all of the fine print to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible, with the ability to cancel or change your reservation need be. 

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Without further ado, keep scrolling to peruse the some of the best travel deals available this Black Friday 2020.


Travel via train for less. (Photo: Curtis Tate)

Regardless of whether you’re traveling near or far, Amtrak is a great, scenic mode of transportation. This Black Friday, those looking to board one of the company’s 300 trains can shop the Amtrak Track Friday Sale, which is offering discounts of up to 50% on select nationwide travel. Folks in New York can catch a coach ride to Washington, D.C. from $35, while trains from Los Angeles to Chicago are currently priced from as low as $92. While this sale runs from Friday, November 27 through Monday, November 30, this discount can be applied on tickets booked for travel from Tuesday, December 8 until Friday, April 30. Additionally, Amtrak is keeping on top of COVID-19 restrictions: All travelers are required to wear a facial covering and enforcing social distancing on-board, while employees are following industry standards by cleaning and sanitizing trains as often as possible. 

Shop Amtrak Tickets

The Las Vegas Strip is a popular destination for customers. (Photo: vichie81/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When it comes to travel accommodations, is a top spot to do your research, find flights, book a rental car or even

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Vermont added to Massachusetts COVID high-risk list for out-of-state travel

All of the continental U.S. is now considered high risk for COVID-19 by Massachusetts public health standards.

State officials announced that starting Saturday, people traveling to-and-from Vermont will need to quarantine or get tested for coronavirus.

Vermont marked the 48th state to be added to the high-risk list. The current list of lower-risk states only includes Hawaii currently.

Gov. Charlie Baker enacted a travel order on August 1 mandating all visitors and residents entering Massachusetts following a high-risk area quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts.

Visitors are urged to obtain a negative result before traveling to Massachusetts.

Failure to comply with the order could result in a $500 fine per day.

Exemptions are allowed for travelers from lower-risk states, people commuting for work or school and patients seeking specialized medical care.

Massachusetts residents are urged to limit any out-of-state travel only to states designated as COVID-19 lower-risk areas.

Anyone arriving from an international destination must fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and must quarantine for 14 days or meet the 72-hour testing rule.

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Griswold’s ‘Christmas Vacation’ brought to life with holiday light display

Griswold fans rejoice, the house on Legends Court will shine very bright once again this holiday season enabling you to have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas.

The popular holiday light display at the New Jersey home of Steve and Gina Harbaugh, that mimics the home in the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” will include the same cast of characters as years before, plus a few new ones, but with a pandemic twist.

“We’re definitely having it just because people are starving and yearning for something positive this year,” said Steve, the creative mastermind responsible for the authentic-like display. As early as mid-November, he said, people have been driving by his house looking for any signs of exterior illumination.

The Harbaugh's "Christmas Vacation" movie holiday display

Steve Harbaugh talks to his daughter in the window after adjusting the lights on his Mickleton home, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. For the third year in a row he has recreated a “Christmas Vacation” movie light display. Tim Hawk | NJ Advance Media for

The Friday after Thanksgiving began the third and largest display for the Christmas-loving Harbaugh family.

The animatronic Uncle Eddie draining his RV’s septic tank with a beer in hand and Clark hanging onto the house for dear life after falling off his ladder while rigging up the lights will again welcome passersby.

Returning this year after making a debut last year are the 1984 LTD police car with its lights flashing and the 1989 Ford Taurus station wagon complete with a Christmas tree strapped to the roof.

Upping his Griswold game from last year, Steve added another Clark mannequin depicting the scene when he takes two extension cords and puts them together, finally getting the lights lit.

“He’s got that smile,” he said referring to Clark’s expression.

The Harbaugh's "Christmas Vacation" movie holiday display

The smiling face of Clark Griswold, left, made by California artist Jeremy O’Neil, will resemble the face of Clark in the Warner Bros movie “Nation Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” right, after he lit his Christmas lights. This will be a new addition to the Harbaugh’s Christmas display.

Steve said the same artist in California that made the latex cast head of Uncle Eddie will also make the Clark head with that joyous grin.

Another added feature will be a mannequin of Frank Shirley, Clark’s boss, who will be outfitted in pajamas and a red bow and placed in the RV, representing the scene when Uncle Eddie kidnaps him.

The Harbaughs’ display has continued to gain national attention so much that the original Clark, played by Chevy Chase, and Ellen, played by Beverly D’Angelo, sent him a video shout out this year.

Just like the last two years, the spectacle is to provide some joy during the upcoming holidays and to collect as many toys as possible. The Gloucester County Toys for Tots will benefit from the toy drive and a portion of the toys will go to Kelly’s Kidz, a nonprofit organization started by morning traffic anchor Bob Kelly, of Fox 29 in Philadelphia. The toys will be donated to St.

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Mrs. Claus rented a vacation rental with in Florida – Press Release

And there is plenty of room for Santa’s sleigh and the elves when you rent a vacation home with

Santa Claus will need a rest after this year, and there is no better place than Florida to thaw out from the cold that will be everywhere but Sarasota and Bradenton come this year’s holidays!  There is plenty of room for Santa and all the elves when you book a vacation rental home in Sarasota-Bradenton with

And when you rent a vacation home, everyone can come and even bring their own holiday decorations to make it feel just like home for the holidays.  Demand during the winter holidays is expected to skyrocket this year so make sure you book early and let Santa Claus know where you’ll be, says Troy Piascyzk with, an vacation rental franchisee.  “People love that they can travel for the holidays and be together in a home instead of being split up in a boring hotel room” says Piascyzk.

When deciding what kind of home your family will need, consider all of your holiday traditions and what you would like to plan for your holiday. suggests that the family create a checklist of what they most want like to do for the holidays, and plan their trip around that list.   Some families enjoy visiting a a new Church or place of worship for the holidays, for example the Sarasota Grace Baptist Church’s “Christmas At Grace” is a local favorite holiday event that features more than a half-million lights; the Jewish Federaton of Sarasota-Manatee sponsors A Taste of Chanukah; and there are other local attractions such as Jungle Gardens which has a holiday light display called Millions of Lights Magical Night which is a Sarasota favorite.

Looking for other fun things to do?

SRQFUN.COM has great ideas for relaxation, adventure, or perhaps some fresh discoveries.  The Bradenton Gulf Islands tourism board has put together some great itineraries for you and your family to enjoy original and inspirational vacation experiences in Florida.  You can find them all at

A vacation rental for the holidays in Sarasota or Bradenton let’s you enjoy the great Florida outdoors and also enjoy the Florida Holiday spirit and charm.  The vacation rentals that rents in Sarasota or Bradenton have plenty of room for families to be together, and a kitchen to cook their favorite holiday meals.  And some of their vacation rentals have fireplaces to hang the stockings for when Santa gets there!  Just be sure to check all of the amenities of each rental home.  And if you want a swimming pool, be sure to check out our 7 reasons to choose a rental home with a swimming pool here.

About is a vacation website providing vacation rentals through in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida. iTrip Vacations Sarasota-Bradenton (an franchisee) is locally owned and operated, ensuring you and your guests receive personalized vacation rental management service. Our full-service program focuses on increasing your

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