Travel Hotel Blog

New York’s Most Iconic Buildings

January 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phin Upham

New York is, in many ways, the modern exhibition hall for American architecture. The rise of steel production and new building methods allowed for the creation of grand skyscrapers that turned the New York skyline into something iconic. People the world over come to visit these incredible sights. Here are a few of our favorites.


The Chrysler Building is an Art Deco style building that held the title of world’s tallest skyscraper for 11 months. The trump card that put it at the top of the pack was a special spike that was secretly constructed within the building’s frame to hide the owner’s true intentions. Nearly 400,000 rivets were used in the construction of the building. Riveting the spire took 90 minutes.


One of America’s great cultural icons, the Empire State Building, towers 1,454 feet over Midtown Manhattan. It’s been named one of the world’s seven wonders, and its observation deck is visited by nearly 3.5 million people each year. Ticket lines can be long, but the view is worth the trip. It’s rumored that the building makes more money selling tickets to visitors than it does from charging its residents rent to use the facility.


One of the world’s most distinctly-shaped buildings, the Flatiron on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, was a groundbreaking building for its time. Today’s architecture is a lot more inventive, but the unique shape required a change in New York’s building codes to complete. The Flatiron building opened the door for steel-skeleton construction.

About the Author: Phin Uphamis an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Twitter page.

Examples of Incredible Chinese Architecture

December 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phin Upham

When most people think of Chinese architecture, they might picture pagodas and traditional-looking structures. While evidence of this craftsmanship still exists in China and Hong Kong, contemporary Chinese architecture has taken a distinctly modern look. These three examples exhibit what modern architects are capable of.

China’s Capital Museum

The Capital Museum is China’s second largest, second only to the National Museum. The stark lines that make up the museum make for a geometric montage of steel and glass rectangles. The structure houses more than 5,000 artifacts within its walls, including a digital movie hall full of cultural reference materials. Its massive roof is a throwback to traditional Chinese architecture, with a long, stone wall that represents the Wall of China. In the hall, one can view an authentic decorative archway from the Ming Dynasty.

The National Indoor Stadium

Constructed for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the National Indoor Stadium has managed to find use outside of the games. It has become a community exercise center, and an auditorium for grand events. The building is nicknamed “shanzi”, which means “fan”, because of its resemblance to traditional Chinese fans.

The Bank of China Tower

The Bank of China Tower was the tallest structure outside of the United States for just two years. Measuring at over 1,000 feet, the building was designed to resemble growing shoots of bamboo. It uses geometric frameworks to cleverly transfer the weight of the structure and keep things balanced. It’s also been featured in more than a few popular sci-fi films.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.

Important Things to Know when Renting a Car on the Cayman Islands

October 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are planning to look for car rentals on the Cayman Islands, there are some things that you should know before sealing the deal.


When you are booking your vacation, one of the first things that you’ll do is check out a list of all of the activities that the Cayman Islands has to offer. Also, make sure you it a priority to check out the different rates that car rental companies are offering. Not only are their prices important but their reliability and level of service should also be weighed in. Don’t end up choosing a company that charges you hidden fees or has contracts that make you read between the lines to find out their greedy intent.

Finding the right car hire in Grand Cayman shouldn’t be a burden. There are many reputable dealers that won’t look to scam you. Visiting popular travel forums will help point you in the right direction. Reading a post from someone who has had experience with a car rental company will give you an unbiased perspective that will further help you in deciding which one is right for you.

Choosing which car you should get depends on how many people you are travelling with. Most people just go with the cheapest rate and the most basic car. You’ll have the option to travel in luxury, but that all depends on what you prefer. Also note that some models might be a bit older at some firms. If that does come up to be an issue, just speak with a representative and inquire about which exact car you will be getting for use.

If you’re concerned about a possible accident occurring, check with your insurance policy to see whether or not you are covered internationally. Many policies do not include international coverage but it never hurts to ask.

Always check the policy before you sign it. There will be fees, obviously, but you’ll want to make sure that you’re not paying more than you should be. Make sure your car rental rep goes over the entire contract. Know the time when you have to return the car, the process for which an accident might occur, and any additional mileage fees.

The aim of your vacation is to travel easy and enjoy the many activities the island has to offer. Car rentals shouldn’t be a hassle and since it’s one of the first things that you’re going to need to take care of during your stay, start off on the right foot by choosing a hassle-free and cost-friendly company.
Andys Rent-A-Car has been serving visitors to the Cayman Islands for more than 15 years. A local family owned business, if you need to rent a car in Grand Cayman, visit Andy’s to find the best selection on the island.

The Bowery Arts Scene

October 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phin Upham

New York sees a lot of newcomers every year, and many of those people bring cultures and ideas to the city with them. Those ideas contribute to the ever-growing nature of this place, which is why it’s such a fascinating place to have the privilege of living and working. One of the neighborhoods that has seen substantial growth since the 1990s has been the Bowery. Thanks to Grassroots efforts from groups like the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, the area has become a more attractive place to live.

One of the most obvious places to see this growth is in the expansion of the neighborhood art scene.

Just before the crash of 1929, perhaps still high on the optimistic roaring 20s, a club was built in the neighborhood called the Bowery Ballroom. Today, that Ballroom is home to some of the most prominent musical acts in America and is widely regarded as one of the hippest venues in the city. Most people don’t know that it stood vacant almost from the time it was built until World War II, when the space finally saw foot traffic when it became a high-end retail shop.

In 1984, Tony Goldman decided to pair with Jeffrey Deitch and the two real estate developers bought a space with a wall they intended to use for a mural project. Goldman wanted to give young artists in the city a space to showcase their work.

As gentrification grew, one of the side effects was the Bowery Poetry Club, which was formed at the corner of Bowery and Bleeker. In the mid 80s, it was the home of slam poetry. It closed briefly in 2012, but re-opened shortly after as a shared performance space.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.

Seeing as Much of Abu Dhabi as You Can

September 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Monte Carlo Rent A Car, LLC

No matter where you plan to go on your next vacation, you need to be sure you take enough time to plan ahead and really see everything this new spot has to offer. Even if you’ve been there before, part of ensuring you get to take in as much as possible involves doing just a bit of planning ahead.

MonteCar2However, if you’re going to somewhere like Abu Dhabi, this is all the more important. You absolutely must understand the layout of the land and where to go for all your adventures. This probably goes without saying though. Nowadays, you can even hire people who will help you plan your trip, leveraging their impressive knowledge of the place.

Even then, though, you’ll want to get a car lease in Abu Dhabi to make sure you can get from point A to point B whenever you want. How else will you be able to leave feeling satisfied you did everything you wanted to and then some?

Fortunately, with a cheap car rental in Abu Dhabi, nothing the land has to offer need ever be out of reach. You can also go there whenever you want without having to wait on someone else’s timetable.


For a car hire in Abu Dhabi you should really only trust Monte Carlo Rent a Car, LLC. You’ll get an amazing car at a great price and won’t have any trouble seeing everything that Abu Dhabi has to offer.

Harlem: From the Great Depression to the Modern Era

September 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Phineas Upham

As the world was plunged into its first major war, black Americans were finding new opportunity in Northern cities like Harlem. Harlem was one of many destinations that held the promise of steady work and economic prosperity. Until the end of World War I, when white Americans began to return stateside, Harlem became a haven for the African-American experience.

It was the birth place of the Harlem Renaissence, an artistic movement that centered on black culture, and the city became a representation of that culture. So much so that other places like Georgia and Alabama, which had historical ties to the black movement, felt somewhat threatened by this sudden migration.

By 1920, more than 30% of the city of Harlem was black, and that number had risen by forty within ten years. At the time of the Great Depression, nearly 70% of the city’s population was black.

Black businesses fell into decline as other ethnic groups came into the picture. After World War II, those tensions rose in sync with the rents. During the late 50s and early 60s, New York became embroiled in rent strikes and safety concerns. Rat-infested tenemants and apartments proved inadequate as shelter, which led to the city’s largest public works project: housing for the poor.

The city had intended to manage blocks of affordable housing, but community protests halted development about halfway through. The education system fell into decline as well. For a long time, Harlem seemed like the city that couldn’t, until Harlem finally began seeing real growth in the 1990s. Today’s Harlem has a growing white population and renovated shops, perhaps signs of the gentrification that is to come.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

See the Cayman Islands on Your Own Terms

August 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Andy’s Rent-A-Car

Have you ever been to the Cayman Islands before? If not, this is definitely something to add to your bucket list. The Cayman Islands are unlike any other place on the planet. It’s why so many people practically refuse to go anywhere else for their vacations. The next time you have some time off, you should definitely check out this gorgeous place.

andys6You’re just not going to find anywhere else where all you have to do is walk around for the most amazing views ever. Of course, Seven Mile Beach helps in this regard too. So does Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park where both your eyes and nose will be in love.

Then there’s Stingray City. This beach is pretty much worth the trip all on its own. You’ll get right up close to dozens and dozens of stingrays who will gladly let you pet them and pose for a photo op in exchange for being handfed.

Before you come here though, just make sure you look into rental cars. Grand Cayman and the Cayman Islands car hire services here are a necessity because they make it possible to get around whenever you choose. Otherwise, you have to experience the islands on someone else’s terms, which is never ideal.


Don’t go to the Cayman Islands without properly preparing ahead of time. Contact Andy’s Rent-a-Car today for affordable Grand Cayman rent-a-car services that will make it easy to get anywhere you want on the islands whenever you like.

Insider Tips for Staying on Grand Cayman

June 24, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by: Andys Rent-a-Car

Christmas Tree Lighting Grand Cayman (1024x681)

Planning a vacation to a region that you have never been can bring just as much anxiety as excitement. The Cayman Islands are no exception. There are no shortages of activities, but the details of the trip can be especially hard to anticipate. If you book a room in the wrong area, for instance, you might be too far from anything of interest. Fail to book proper transportation once you’re on the island and you might find yourself with fewer activities within your reach.

The best way to plan a trip you’ll remember for years to come is to use insider knowledge to help decide where to stay and whether or not it’s worth it to rent a car in Grand Cayman.

Where to Stay

The basic choice before most travelers is whether to book a room at a hotel or a condo. There are advantages to both, it’s up to you to decide which offers the experience you want. With hotels, you’ll get room service and a small continental breakfast. Condos offer a similar experience, with snacks and food served in your room. The difference is that condos are your space; hotels are very much like visiting someone’s room.

That feeling of personal space can make a very big difference to travelers, especially older people who prefer time for themselves and a bit of privacy. As for seclusion, Seven Mile Beach offers a few sites away from hotels and larger condos, but you might be better served on the north side of Grand Cayman.

Rent a Bike or Car?

Many younger people who come to the island like to rent bikes for transportation, rather than a car hire in Grand Cayman. This is a good idea for the environment, maybe not so much for getting around. Roads can be very narrow in Grand Cayman, so bikes may have trouble inching past cars safely. Biking in the heat also makes it hard to get around. By the end of your trip you’ll be tired and dehydrated.

A better solution, if you truly wish to bike, is to plan for a day or two of Grand Caymans car rentals. This way, you get a respite during the middle of the trip and you can explore some parts of the island you’d otherwise not see.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide where you want to go and what you would like to do. Your trip to Grand Cayman can immerse you in beach culture, or provide the most amazing night life experiences you’ve ever had. Much of that experience is fueled by access. Plan accordingly.

Rent a Car During Your Trip to Abu Dhabi

June 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Monte Carlo Rent A Car, LLC

Heading to Abu Dhabi soon? If so, you’ve probably done your homework and made a nice big list of places to see when you get there. From fine dining to cultural attractions to much more, the city will give you plenty to do. Chances are you’ll discover a number of other items to add to your list of things to do while you’re there. Of course, this means you’ll need a reliable way to get around town. Abu Dhabi is a huge city, the second most populace in the United Arab Emirates.

RideRentaCar-Slide1Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to this: getting a cheap car rental in Abu Dhabi. It really is about as easy as that. A short-term car lease in Abu Dhabi won’t cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, if anything, this investment will end up saving you a good chunk of change.

Think about it. If you don’t rent a car, you’re going to be constantly chasing down cabs and taxis or waiting for the bus. The former is going to cost you a small fortune, while the latter will ensure you never get anywhere on time.

Do yourself a huge favor and rent a car for your trip to Abu Dhabi.


Before you head over to your dream vacation in Abu Dhabi, make sure you have everything you need. With Monte Carlo Rent A Car, LLC, you can easily afford to car hire in Abu Dhabi ensuring you have no problem getting around during your trip.

Ready Your Boat for an Overnight Trip with These Tips

June 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Ready-Your-Boat-for-an-Overnight-Trip-with-These-TipsBuying a new boat (even if it’s only “new” to you) is a thrilling feeling. The open sea and boundless adventure await, but that adventure takes place in nature. Nature is notoriously unforgiving, but there are ways to bring some creature comforts from home with you onto the open sea. Read on for tips to help you pack for your overnight boating trip.

Flotation Devices

Most yacht cushions can double as a flotation device thanks to the kind of foam used to manufacture the seats. In an emergency, these flotation devices can save lives. Ideally, this should be something built into the boat’s seating arrangements so no one has to think about it if the time comes.


An overnight trip isn’t too hard to pack for, but you should have a cooler stocked with the essentials. Plenty of water, usually one gallon per person will do. If you’re having a relaxed gathering of adults, it wouldn’t be too far out of character to slip something alcoholic (but go fine wine or craft beer to add a touch of class). For food, make sure you pack protein. Peanut butter and beef jerky are excellent for this, even if you plan to fish for your food while you float.

Pack for the Temperature

Almost universally speaking, there is a good chance you’ll get cold over night. Ocean temperatures tend to differ significantly from inland heat, so this trick will help no matter what your days are like. Order a boat mattress replacement made of foam. The foam core provides good support for your back, and it helps insulate your body heat from the cold deck.

Bio: Carlo Badalamenti is the marketing manager for The Foam Factory, a Michigan-based manufacturer of custom-cut foam products.

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