Wednesday
Aug142013

Agoda.com customer survey reveals Asia’s best airports

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), has released a list of Asia’s best airports as ranked by customers who flew into its largest cities.

Airports are fascinating structures, and require a level of planning and design not unlike a small city. In this regard, a customer’s perception of whether an airport is “good” or not depends on many factors: signage, food selection, facilities for the disabled, ease of movement, rest options and even how many bathrooms there are.

Failure to plan correctly can result in expensive delays, such as when Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal 5 opened in 2008 and had to content with dozens of cancelled flights and thousands of stranded passengers on its first day. Similarly, Denver Airport’s cutting-edge baggage system turned out to be a failure, costing the airport USD $1 million per month in maintenance costs until it was ultimately abandoned. When it comes to airports, details matter.

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Wednesday
Aug072013

Agoda.com and Scoot join to offer easy hotel booking 

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), has announced a partnership with budget airline Scoot that will allow customers to book hotels at their destination without ever leaving the Scoot website.

Billed as an airline “for the young, the young-at-heart and the value seeking,” Scoot is the low-cost arm of famed Singapore Airlines that offers its guests great value airfares and empowerment to choose the frills and services they want without subsidizing the choices of others. Launched in November 2011, the company has carved out a niche for itself based on “Scootitude”, a term coined to describe the unique attitude of the young airline to be different, engaging and fun-loving.

Now, customers who visit www.flyscoot.com/hotels can browse thousands of hotels from Agoda.com’s inventory and book rooms worldwide, taking advantage of Agoda.com’s Lowest Price Guarantee.

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Wednesday
Jul312013

Agoda.com prepares festive deals in London for the Notting Hill Carnival

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is celebrating the arrival of the annual Notting Hill Carnival with budget-saving deals on hotels in London’s celebrated Notting Hill neighborhood. This year the celebration takes place on August 25 and 26.

Widely known for its historical architecture, fashionable stores and trendy restaurants, it’s sometimes hard to believe that Notting Hill was once known as “the Piggies,” due to the high number of pig farms in the area. However, in the mid-1800s it began the slow transformation into a residential neighborhood for the expanding city, and soon became home to a large population of Caribbean immigrants, whose rich culture helped shape its development. The mid- 20th century was not so kind, however, as the area became known for widespread crime and slum conditions, but in the decades since then it has grown and evolved into a chic and upscale residential destination.

The carnival that takes its name from the area began in 1959, when a woman named Claudia Jones organized an indoor celebration as a positive counterweight to recent riots and to encourage community spirit. The party caught on, and was soon being held annually, reflecting the Caribbean culture, art and character that the area is rooted in.

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Wednesday
Jul242013

Agoda.com highlights hotel deals to celebrate the Sri Lankan Nallur Festival

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is offering great deals on hotels in the northern town of Nallur, Sri Lanka, for the annual Nallur Festival, an exuberant and colorful celebration with great spiritual significance for local Hindus. This year the festival will kick off on August 12.

The festival is based around the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple, one of the most important temples in Sri Lanka. It was originally founded in 948 AD, but has been rebuilt and moved several times until the present construction was erected in 1749, with additions and improvements added in the following years. The last major renovations were in 1964 when the Grand Hall was upgraded, and in 2011 when a 30-meter gopuram, or ornately decorated tower, was unveiled.

The festival itself is held annually to honor Skanda (also known as Murugan, Dhandapani, and many other names), the Hindu god of war and victory. It’s one of the longest festivals you’re likely to attend, actually, and takes place over 25 days. This includes parades, food, music, performances and symbolic rounds of the temple made by crowds holding aloft effigies representing Skanda, his holy spear, or his consorts. Special ceremonies called pujas are also performed by priests, and the festival’s grand finale is a boisterous parade, where thousands of devotees pull an elaborate chariot and its rider – dressed to resemble Skanda – through town to the temple and place him on an ornate thrown. The act is said to bring the god closer to his people, witnessing their devotion, love and purity.

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Wednesday
Jul172013

Agoda.com gets ready for Spain’s wildest food fight with Valencia hotel deals

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), has prepared some great hotel deals for Spain’s squishiest, goopiest and messiest festival – the raucous free-for-all of La Tomatina, the tomato festival, often called the world’s largest food fight. This year it takes place on August 28.

There are several stories as to the origin of the festival, which takes place in the town of Buñol, about 35km west of Valencia. The most popular one says it began in the mid 1940’s when local youths got into a fight and started hurling the first thing they could get their hands on – tomatoes. For some reason, it caught on as an annual event and the following years saw the celebration grow until it was formalized as an annual festival in 1957.

Pictures of the festival showcase the craziness that goes on – thousands of smiling revelers covered in red paste sloshing around in shin-high piles of squashed tomatoes. But one can’t just show up and start throwing tomatoes willy-nilly – the throwing doesn’t actually begin until a ham is collected from the top of a greased pole. Yes, you read that right. As the crowd sings and dances in a spray of water from huge hoses, one participant squirms his way up the pole to a suspended ham. When the ham is dropped into the crowd, a gunshot rings out and several large dump trucks begin their slow roll through the street, dispensing a combined 40 tons of soft tomatoes. From that point on, it’s madness.

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Wednesday
Jul102013

Agoda.com celebrates a Roman summer with 9 top rooftop bars/patios

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is getting ready to enjoy the summer to its fullest with a list of 9 of the coolest hotels in Rome that offer rooftop patios. As anyone who has visited can attest, there are few things nicer than a good meal and refreshing drinks on a breezy, moonlit night while looking out across the Italian capital’s historic skyline.

Italian summers are generally hot and dry during the day, but it’s during the evenings that one can really get a feel for the people and the energy that the city has to offer. When the sun sets, Romans come out in huge numbers to dine, drink, talk, argue and catch up with old friends in one of the thousands of outdoor cafes and restaurants that spring up at sunset. Whether it’s to gorge on some tender saltimbocca (wine-marinated veal), share a serving of grattachecca (shaved ice with fruit juice) with a loved one at dessert, or down some strong espresso over debates with friends, the outdoor dining culture in Italy is one of the best parts of visiting.

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Wednesday
Jul102013

Agoda revs up hotel specials for Singapore’s high-profile F1 race

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is gearing up for one of Singapore’s most exciting, loudest and certainly fastest event of the year – the world-famous Singapore Grand Prix.

On September 20, 21 and 22 this year, Singapore’s streets will close down to allow some of the world’s most daring and talented drivers to steer their finely tuned machines through 5km of twists and straightaways in the heart of one of Asia’s most vibrant cities. The race is held at night in order for European viewers to enjoy the competition at a convenient time, a schedule which also allows the course to be dramatically lit along its entire course, creating a ribbon of light right in the heart of Singapore.

Through 61 nail-biting laps the cars will swerve, brake and surge past each other over a total of nearly 310km. In past years spectators have raved about the unique experience of seeing a race at night, as well as the fairly close proximity to the cars that the seating affords. Grand Prix F1 cars are known for their extremely precise engineering, a fact that is hard to ignore as they scream down the track past cheering crowds - earplugs are recommended! In 2011 a record fastest lap was recorded by Spanish driver Jaime Alguersuari – 305 kph!

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Wednesday
Jul032013

Agoda.com highlights superb hotels for a family-friendly summer in Paris

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), has put together a list of some of the nicest, coziest and well-positioned family properties in Paris to help out families who are looking to make the most out of a summer vacation to France’s magnificent City of Lights.

Finding accommodation that caters to groups can be difficult, especially during the summer high season. But Agoda.com’s experienced hotel specialists in France have prepared a list of ten of the best properties in Paris, which provide multi-room suites and comfortable accommodation for groups of all sizes, allowing for a maximum of convenience when exploring the city.  

Paris is well known for its world-famous sightseeing, which includes a long list of iconic buildings, museums, neighborhoods and monuments. From the resolute spire of the Eiffel Tower to the solemn beauty of Pere Lachaise Cemetery; from the gorgeous architecture of Notre-Dame Cathedral to the cultural treasure of the Louvre Museum, Paris is a city drenched in history and begging to be explored.

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Wednesday
Jul032013

Agoda.com showcases great hotels in crumbling, beautiful Vientiane

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq:PCLN), is showcasing a handful of beautiful hotels in the Laotian capital of Vientiane, one of the most fascinating capital cities in Asia and one that is slowly being transformed from a crumbling capital into the country’s first real hub of travel and industry.

First emerging as an important settlement in the mid 1300’s, Vientiane’s fortunes rose and fell with various kingdoms and the many tumultuous battles that were fought across the region. The Siamese (now Thai), captured Vientiane in 1779 but it was burned to the ground in an 1827 rebellion and essentially abandoned to the jungle.

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Wednesday
Jun192013

Agoda.com offers hotel deals for adventurous divers down under

Agoda.com, Asia’s leading hotel booking site and part of Nasdaq-listed Priceline Group (Nasdaq: PCLN), is offering great deals on hotels in southern Australia that will suit scuba divers who are seeking a bit of adventure.

Both the city of Adelaide and the town of Port Lincoln in southern Australia are known for the populations of Great White Sharks that cruise the waters near shore, and there are many companies that offer divers the chance to see these magnificent animals up close – real close – with a variety of cage diving tours.

Known throughout the world as one of nature’s most fearsome apex predators, the Carcharodon carcharias (Great White) has been the subject of books, movies and documentaries for decades. Famous for its size (averaging around 5m and 800kg) and its propensity to eat whatever floats in front of its face, it takes a brave soul to jump into water where the huge animals are known to swim. However, advances in diving safety have made the experience available to a wide variety of people, and these two locations offer some of the best cage diving in Australia.

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