Keeping BrickandMortar Banks Relevant

first_img Banks mortgage loan officers TD Bank 2016-08-03 Seth Welborn in Daily Dose, Headlines, News August 3, 2016 547 Views Keeping Brick-and-Mortar Banks Relevantcenter_img The mortgage industry is changing. With constant regulatory upheaval, ever-advancing technology, and constantly changing buyer demographics and trends, it’s hard for even the most dedicated mortgage lender to keep up. So how does a brick-and-mortar bank stay relevant and competitive in this always in flux industry? Kevin Gillen, SVP, Mortgage at TD Bank, fills us in. Editor’s note: This select print feature originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of MReport magazine.MReport: As a brick-and-mortar bank that offers mortgage products and servicing, what would you say consumers expect from their lender in this era of banking disruption? Gillen: In this whole ecosystem of advancing technology, the primary relationship between the consumer—the homebuyer—is really tied around the real estate agent, and the agent’s go-to person is the mortgage loan officer. So while there are all kinds of models out there, the mortgage loan officer really plays the most mission-critical role. Our Mortgage Service Index revealed that in 2016, twice as many consumers said their loan officer was their most valuable resource in the homebuying process as did in 2015. So even with the advancement of everything that’s going on with technology—the ability to start and stop and get engaged and do research on your own—ultimately, the consumer wants that validation and that trust in their mortgage loan officer.MReport: You mention technological advancements. Are there ways for a lender to empower its loan officers in this increasingly digital world? Gillen: As much as that real person—a trusted loan officer and adviser—is there, the originator, the institution, the bank, has got to provide mobile enablement for them to allow the trusted mortgage adviser to work hand-in-hand with the consumer when they’re going through the shopping experience, when they’re doing their research on rates and fees and product options, and when they’re ready to apply. Let’s face it though, if you have lots of products, that could be very, very complex. So using technology to give the consumer full transparency—to give the consumer a choice and help them to make the right decision—is key.Kevin GillenMReport: What else does a lender need to provide to generate customer satisfaction and loyalty?Gillen: The No. 1 is an on-time closing. That is so incredibly important, especially when you think about the domino impact. Trust and a good circle of referrals is crucial, too. Mortgage loan officers—their whole business, their whole livelihood—is not only based upon the strength of the institution—who they’re working for—but it’s also their rolodex, their centers of influence with financial advisers, with realtors, with developers, with builders, real estate attorneys and CPAs. So the most important thing is if you have a client—if you’ve entrusted your client to another person in this whole ecosystem—you and the person have to fulfill that expectation of trust. You have to be responsive, you have to be accessible, you have to be well-skilled, you have to be transparent, and you have to have unwavering integrity.MReport: In your opinion, how has technological advancement affected mortgage banking as a whole?Gillen: There are so many tools and resources and applications that are out there today, that are being developed to help the consumer—really help them make the right decisions. For instance, there are applications out there that help that first-time homebuyer determine the benefits of renting versus buying. Another game changer is the ability to automate and aggregate incoming asset documentation. In this day and age of technology, why should an originator be spending time and money with a processor—especially with the hassle it places on the consumer? As far as business development, it’s becoming a fiercely competitive industry. We all know margins are low, so there’s all types of analytics models, data mining, utilization of GPS and data to better understand you as the consumer.MReport: Financial technology companies are on the rise in the mortgage space. What can brick-and-mortar banks like yours do to stay competitive?Gillen: I think the most important thing to do is to take a step back and realize at the end of this is a consumer, a customer. If you keep reminding yourself it’s a home, not a loan, that’s what the customer cares about. So we break it down into really small subsets. Everything we do—every investment—is done so in the spirit of speed. It has to be simple, and it has to be transparent. By transparent, I mean the originator, the processor, the consumer, the customer, the applicant, and if the customer wants, his CPA or his or her real estate agent, all need to know exactly where every single solitary component is, counting down to when they get the keys to the house. There is nothing more frustrating than for a consumer to get a surprise condition or a new requirement 24-48 hours before closing. Sharelast_img read more

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Ocwen Responds to Regulatory Action Resolutions

first_imgOcwen Responds to Regulatory Action Resolutions Share After Illinois and Montana announced resolution agreements on Thursday, early Friday morning Ocwen Financial Corp announced it has entered into 10 agreements to resolve its pending regulatory actions made up of Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.In April 2017, more than 20 state business regulators issued regulatory enforcement orders to subsidiaries of Ocwen to address “mishandling of consumer escrow accounts and a deficient financial condition,” according to an April news release from the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks. The cease and desist orders were made after several years of examinations and monitoring.Prior to September 28, the September Ocwen release stated that state regulatory agencies in Indiana and Nevada either withdrew or allowed their respective cease and desist orders to expire.Under the agreements, terms include details such as Ocwen not acquiring any new residential mortgage servicing rights until April 30, 2018, developing plans to transition to a new servicing system, and not engaging an auditor to perform an escrow review of between 8,000 and 10,000 loans. However, the release also notes that Ocwen did not admit or deny liability in these settlements and none of the agreements contain any monetary fines or penalties.“Ocwen is pleased to have reached mutually-agreeable resolutions with 12 states to resolve regulatory actions brought against the Company in April 2017,” John Lovallo, Spokesperson for Ocwen, said. “We continue to work cooperatively with the remaining 19 state regulatory agencies and two state attorneys general, and are committed to seeking timely and acceptable resolutions with these states.”Montana Department of Administration, Division of Banking and Financial Institutions Commissioner Melanie Hall also voiced that she was pleased to reach an agreement with Ocwen. It now allows both the Division and the company to move forward with a focus on what concrete steps need to be taken to provide for customers accurately and with improved service.“We look forward to productive relationships with all regulatory bodies, and to continue our mission of helping homeowners, especially those struggling to remain in their homes,” Lovallo said.To see the full SEC 8K filing, click here.UPDATE: Ocwen announced it has now made agreements with New Mexico, Virginia, and West Virginia on various state regulatory actions.“Ocwen is pleased to have reached resolutions with three additional states to resolve regulatory actions brought against the Company, bringing the total number of states where we have reached a resolution to 15,” said Lovallo. “We continue to work cooperatively with the remaining 16 state regulatory agencies and two state attorneys general to reach acceptable resolutions. In addition, we are pleased that the SEC has concluded both of the investigations we have previously disclosed.” in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, Headlines, Newscenter_img September 29, 2017 590 Views Owen Financial 2017-09-29 Brianna Gilpinlast_img read more

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The Week Ahead Focus on Home Prices

first_imgThe Week Ahead: Focus on Home Prices On Tuesday, June 26, the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index (HPI) will release giving a snapshot of the movement of home prices in April. The index gauges U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate both nationally as well as in 20 metropolitan regions.Last month, the HPI for March indicated that home prices showed no signs of slowing down. Nationally, the index reported a 6.5 percent annual gain in March, while the 10-City Composite annual increase came in at 6.5 percent, slightly rising from 6.4 percent in the previous month. The 20-City Composite on the index remained unchanged from the previous month posting a 6.8 percent year-over-year gain in home prices. Cities like Seattle, Las Vegas, and San Francisco reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities on the HPI. In March, Seattle led the way with a 13 percent year-over-year price increase; followed by Las Vegas with a 12.4 percent increase; and San Francisco with an 11.3 percent increase. Twelve of the 20 cities on the HPI reported greater price increases in March 2018 compared with February.Here’s what else is in store in The Week Ahead:New Home Sales, Monday, 10 a.m. ETConsumer Confidence Index, Tuesday, 10 a.m. ETMBA Mortgage Apps, Wednesday, 7 a.m. ETNAR Pending Home Sales Index, Wednesday, 10 a.m. ETGDP Data, Thursday, 8:30 a.m. ETFed Balance Sheet, Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET in Daily Dose, Featured, News Sharecenter_img June 24, 2018 494 Views Home Prices Home Sales homes HOUSING S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller HPI 2018-06-24 Radhika Ojhalast_img read more

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The Top 20 Cities to Buy a Retirement Home

first_img For homebuyers looking at that ideal retirement property, a survey by 55places.com revealed that 77 percent of adults were looking at these homes to be affordable.When asked about the anticipated costs of a future home compared to the value of their current one, 26 percent respondents said, “about the same” while 27 percent would prefer “slightly less” and 24 percent “much less,” the survey indicated.”A home within a certain price point is only half of the equation,” said Danny Goodman, COO and Co-founder of 55places.com. “The surrounding area—whether or not an active adult community is of interest—plays an integral role in the quality of life, and nearby attractions and available establishments can greatly enhance that. These destinations provide budget-friendly options without demanding sacrifice for comfort.”Apart from affordability, the survey noted that these homebuyers were also looking for a fun and active retirement in or outside a 55-plus community. The survey then looked at cities and towns that provided a balance of affordability and an active retirement lifestyle. For the survey, 55places.com looked at factors such as the overall cost of living, local home prices, state tax laws, well-being scores, availability of 55-plus communities, local health, local health care options, and public transit.Sioux Falls in South Dakota secured the first rank in this list scoring top marks in terms of affordable home prices and low cost of living (7 percent lower than the national average). At No. 2 Ocala, Florida not only got top marks for home affordability, but also for the wide variety of options available for active adult living and favorable tax laws. Four more Florida cities, Lakeland, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and Gainesville took the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth spot respectively. Tampa-St. Petersburg, again in Florida, was ranked ninth, beaten by New Castle County, Delaware and South Bend, Indiana which took the seventh and eighth spot respectively. Waco, Texas rounded off the top 10 cities for retirement.Other cities that made the Top 2o rankings included, Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis, Tennessee; San Antonio, Texas; Fort Myers/Cape Coral, Florida; Phoenix, Arizona; Melbourne, Florida; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Orlando-Kissimmee, Florida; Wichita Falls, Texas; and Indianapolis, Indiana. The Top 20 Cities to Buy a Retirement Home 55places.com Affordable Housing homes property Retirement 2019-01-28 Radhika Ojha January 28, 2019 1,315 Views center_img in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Sharelast_img read more

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Six personal travel managers PTMs were invited t

first_imgSix personal travel managers (PTMs) were invited to represent TravelManagers on a Crooked Compass seven-day hiking famil – to Palestine and Israel – the first time each of the PTMs had experienced those destinations.The seven-day itinerary, which started and ended in Tel Aviv, took the group through remote but beautiful terrain in the Nablus region, hiking on remote trails shared by shepherds and their flocks, and saw them visit iconic sites in and around Bethlehem. They also visited the ancient city of Jericho, and swam in the Dead Sea.Personal travel manager Kerstin Rheinlander, representative for Sinnamon Park in Queensland, describes herself as a huge fan of the Middle Eastern countries in general and says the itinerary her group followed would best suit history buffs, but also those with religious interests, too. “Participants need to have a reasonable level of fitness so I wouldn’t recommend this particular tour to families with younger children, but older teenagers would be able to handle it.“If they were simply travelling through Palestine independently, then the region itself would be of great interest for families of all ages.” Rheinlander was surprised by the welcoming kindness of the Palestinian people and their generous hospitality.“They shared everything they possibly could, even though they had so little for themselves. “Strangers walking in the street called out, ‘Welcome to Palestine’ … shopkeepers beckoned us to hear their stories. A family with young children even stopped harvesting their olives to chat with us and invited us to join them for tea, but unfortunately we had to continue on our path!”TravelManagers’ Bev Fitzsimons with a local shepherd, encountered during a day hiking in PalestineThe opportunity to visit historic sites, that are of great significance to millions of people, was too good to pass up and, for Karen Doyle, representative for South Yarra in Victoria, the warmth of the Palestinian people, in particular, was an added bonus.“[The people] were very warm, friendly and welcoming, wanting to know where we were from and offering us sweet tea and food. They were a generous people, who often had very little in terms of material possessions, but were always very generous to us as their guests.” Doyle said there was no moment during her visit to Palestine that she felt unsafe.“It was interesting to hear the stories from the locals and our guides of life living under Israeli domination. You can only admire and sympathise with these people, who demonstrate amazing resilience and perseverance under difficult conditions.”She was also delighted by the local cuisine.“I enjoyed Palestinian tea, which is sweet and strong, and also the cardamom-spiced coffee, which is by far the best option for coffee in Palestine.”The fresh, locally-produced ingredients included “… spiced flat bread with hummus, baba ganoush, tabbouleh, fried chicken, yoghurt, and soft cheese with olive oil and zaatar spice – yum.”Doyle, who also chose to add a side trip to neighbouring Jordan, says it was relatively easy to reach Palestine, flying via Dubai and Amman to Tel Aviv. However, she warns that patience is required when crossing borders. “Be prepared for lengthy questioning from Israeli officials about your intended visit on entering and leaving Israel after visiting Palestine,” she advises. “It can take a long time to get through immigration on arrival and departure, with multiple checkpoints and a lot of questions asked.”For Theresa Kwong, representative for Hughesdale in Victoria, the wonderful hospitality was matched by some of the trip’s key highlights which included taking a drink from Jacob’s Well, floating in the Dead Sea, hiking across mountains, and discovering and exploring hidden valleys and ancient secrets.“This was my first time visiting Israel and Palestine, and there was so much to learn about both countries’ political and religious history.“But the feeling when we reached the end of our walk, to view the cliffside Mar Saba Monastery in Palestine, and visiting Nativity Church in Bethlehem to touch the spot where Jesus was believed to be born, were truly awe-inspiring. For me these were two remarkable experiences in a trip packed with highlights.” PTM Di Yates visiting an olive oil soap factory in the ancient city of NablusTravelManagers’ Executive General Manager Michael Gazal, says although client enquiry for travel to Palestine is not particularly high, it is valuable for PTMs to have first-hand experience of more niche destinations.TOP IMAGE: On the road to Tell Balata, the site of the Bronze Age city of Shechem, where Abraham arrived in the Land of Canaan. L-R: Bev Fitzsimons, Cath Graham Theresa Kwong, Di Yates, Kirsten Rheinlander and Karen Doyle. familPalestineTravelManagerslast_img read more

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Visiting tourism body Czech Tourism and Beyond T

first_imgVisiting tourism body, Czech Tourism, and Beyond Travel joined forces in Sydney recently at Beer DeLuxe on King St Wharf to host the first evening of a series of Czech Republic agent information dinners – with a selection of popular Czech beers!The event was also attended by Ms Hana Flanderova, Consul General and Mr Tomas Kara, Deputy Consul General from the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Sydney. Ms Flanderova said it was perfect timing for the visiting tourism body with the Czech Republic celebrating 100 years presence in Australia this year.Beyond Travel marketing manager Bryce Crampton said the events had been designed to increase awareness and update agents on the great value, ideal location in the heart of Europe and the numerous attractions the Czech Republic offers Australians travelling to Eastern Europe.He added, “With the challenge of the Australian dollar for travellers at the moment, Czech Republic offers amazing value for expenses on the ground in Czech, especially in comparison to other major tourist cities.“For example, the average cost per night of a centrally located four star hotel in London is A$385, in Vienna is A$295 and in Prague is only A$180. While the average price of a beer in Sydney is A$8 a local Czech beer, home to the famous Pilsen, is just A$2.The event included over 50 agents who were encouraged to complete a Czech Republic crossword to be in the chance to win numerous prizes including a beautiful Moser crystal glass wear.Similar sized events also took place in Melbourne and Auckland.IMAGE: Bryce Crampton; general manager sales and marketing Beyond Travel, Hana Flanderova; consul general Czech Republic, Tomas Kara; deputy consul general Czech Republic, Jan Urban; PR Czech Tourism agentsBeyond TravelCzech Tourismeventslast_img read more

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Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact LISTEN: Gil Brandt, NFL.com analyst & longtime Cowboys personnel guru As far as authorities on the NFL go, Gil Brandt would rank near the top of the list.A former personnel man in the league who is now an analyst for NFL.com, he is respected when it comes to his thoughts on the league.So his thoughts on what the Cardinals have done lately — specifically the hire of Bruce Arians as head coach and then Tom Moore as assistant head coach/offense — should make one take notice. Your browser does not support the audio element. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories center_img Comments   Share   “Well they ought to be put in jail for stealing, to get Tom Moore,” Brandt told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday. “Tom Moore is one of the all-time great people and one of the really all-time great coaches, as far as I’m concerned.”Moore, 74, brings a wealth of experience with him to the desert, including time as the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis when the Colts won the Super Bowl in 2006.“I think that’s a great hire,” Brandt added, before turning his attention to Arians, who is tasked with turning around a team that went 5-11 last season and had the second-worst scoring offense in the NFL and the worst in terms of yardage.“I thought Arians did a great job this year,” Brandt said of his time as interim head coach and offensive coordinator in Indianapolis. Arians got the job when head coach Chuck Pagano had to leave the team due to leukemia, and compiled a 9-3 record while he was at the helm. “They scored 40 less points than their opponents and won 11 games. They had a big deficit in turnovers, they won 11 games. They had a big deficit in sack differential and won games.“So he must have done something right.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retireslast_img read more

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The 5 Takeaways from the Coyotes introduction of

first_img The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo TEMPE, Ariz. — Finally.When the Arizona Cardinals take the field against the St. Louis Rams Sunday afternoon in Glendale, their prized 2015 free agent acquisition will be with them.“Mike is full, so he will be starting at left guard,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians announced Friday.Mike, of course, is Mike Iupati, the former San Francisco 49er whom Arizona signed to a five-year contract in March, one that is worth up to $40 million. He has yet to take the field for a game with his new team, though, as in August he underwent surgery during training camp to repair the meniscus in his left knee. He has been back on the practice field, at least in a limited capacity, for the last few weeks, but didn’t feel like he was quite ready to until now.“I’m ready,” he declared Friday. “That’s why I practiced from two weeks ago all the way down, just to get the rust out.“But it is what it is, you just have to go out and play football.”One player who is hoping to join Iupati on the field against the Rams is running back Andre Ellington. Out since spraining his PCL in the season opener against the New Orleans Saints, the third-year pro practiced all week on a limited basis and was declared a game-time decision by Arians.“I feel good,” Ellington said Friday. “I got better each day. Still not right where I want to be, but hopefully I feel good on game day and I’ll be able to get out there.”Asked if he thinks he will play, Ellington said he does not see why not. The ultimate decision will be up to the coaches and trainers, but the running back said if he can run and feel like himself, then he’ll feel good about suiting up. Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) is hit by New Orleans Saints defensive back Delvin Breaux (40) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Comments   Share   Top Stories center_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact When he does get back, Ellington said he will be wearing a brace on his knee. He said it restricts him a little, but not enough to hold him back. What could hold him back is his role.Arians said Ellington isn’t “full speed enough to be a starter,” and with the way veteran Chris Johnson has been running, it makes sense to be cautious.But Ellington said he is confident in his cuts as well as his readiness to play.“It’s up to coach,” he said. “It’s his decision whether he wants me out there. If he does, I’ll be ready to go. I’ve prepared, I prepared with the team and the offense as if I was playing, so we’ll see.”last_img read more

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Go back to the enewsletter Silversea Cruises ha

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >Silversea Cruises has released additional news about Silver Muse, its newest ship due to set sail in spring of 2017, on its dedicated website www.silvermuse.info.Kristian Anderson, Silversea’s senior vice president and general manager for the Americas, said: “We’re thrilled to announce more detailed features of our new flagship. Our beautiful new site utilizes the latest technology to bring to life the state-of-the-art design and luxe, modern amenities of Silver Muse. We are sure that many discerning travellers will love it, and will be eager to learn more about this highly anticipated new addition to our ocean fleet.”Visitors to the site are greeted by an interactive discovery of Silver Muse with a 360-degree virtual tour, which provides a variety of viewing options, including day and night renderings of the ship at sea. A “Stay Updated” tab enables visitors to register to receive the latest Silver Muse news by email.The site showcases Silver Muse’s accommodation with artist’s renderings of contemporary interior furnishings dressed in earth tones of cream, saffron, green, and sienna. With the highest number of large suites (Silver, Royal, Grand and Owner’s) in the fleet, and greatest number of connecting suites for families and friends, Silver Muse offers a welcoming blend of spaciousness, luxury, and comfort, where guests can feel immediately at home.By clicking on the interactive ship diagram, a range of suites are available to explore, from the Classic Veranda Suite, with 36 square metres of  living space, to the two-bedroom Owner’s Suite, an apartment suite offering the ultimate level of spaciousness and comfort at 129 square metres.Of special note is the increased number of Silver Suites, 34, now available across three top decks, and the addition of new two-bedroom Silver Suite configurations, each measuring 104 square metres.With more restaurants than any other ultra-luxury ship — eight venues including an exclusive Relais & Châteaux® restaurant — plus an incredible number of further dining options which will be progressively disclosed, Silver Museoffers the finest and widest culinary bespoke experience.Following are some of the restaurants that can now be previewed at the dedicated website:Atlantide: A new European-style dining venue featuring a bar and grill will debut aboard Silver Muse.La Terrazza: This Slow Food-inspired à-la-carte restaurant offers authentic Italian dishes made from the freshest ingredients.Hot Rocks: An outdoor interactive dining venue where fresh seafood and prime cuts are grilled at the table by each guest on a heated volcanic “hot rock” plate.Regina Margherita: Named in tribute to the beloved 19th-century Italian queen consort for whom this pizza was invented, this open-air pizzeria, with its relaxed dining atmosphere, reflects the simplicity of the famous Neapolitan-style pizza that bears her name.Further news about Silver Muse will be released soon at www.silvermuse.info, starting with the details on the itineraries for her inaugural season. Reservations will open in the coming days.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more

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Tribute Portfolio has announced its debut in Bali

first_imgTribute Portfolio has announced its debut in Bali with the opening of Sthala, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Ubud Bali.Owned by PT. Anugrah Anadya Nirmana, Sthala marks the brand’s first new build property to open, only one and a half years following launch. Situated in the heart of Bali’s Ubud district, with service and design that nod to traditional Balinese touches, Sthala is a direct answer to loyalty guest members’ desires for more access to hotel choices in Indonesia’s most popular island destination.Tribute Portfolio arrives in BaliPerched on a hilltop among the tropical landscape in Lodtunduh, Ubud, Sthala offers stunning ridge views of the Wos River valley. Featuring 143 rooms and suites, the hotel encompasses a design narrative that focuses on traditional Balinese elements, while blending seamlessly with the natural surroundings.Sthala provides a range of distinctive dining venues for guests to explore and enjoy. The Naga Rooftop Bar & Lounge features an airy atmosphere with ample natural light, as well as valley and river views. Sungai Restaurant is an all-day dining experience that offers Asian cuisine with Balinese touches, as well as a range of Western dishes. Alternatively, guests can enjoy the Panorama Pool and Sundeck Lounge, which serves cool cocktails and light bites set against the unforgettable backdrop of the Wos River and forest.Guests can enjoy a myriad of facilities ranging from a fitness centre and spa, to a wide selection of guest activities, such as yoga on the dedicated yoga deck. Additionally, Ubud offers a truly diverse experience, from wellness and nature to art and culture, all within easy access of the hotel. Sthala, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Ubud Bali also features nearly 400 square metres of function space, ideal for intimate weddings and professional meetings.Independent by natureAs with all Tribute Portfolio properties, Sthala, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Ubud Bali features a selection of #independentmoments: distinct design touches and experiences found at each Tribute Portfolio hotel and resort that illustrate what guests love about “staying independent.” The #independentmoments for Sthala Ubud Bali include:Bebek Semudera – A twist on one of the Ubud region’s signature dishes, Bebek Semudera is more than just a meal, it’s an experience. Prepared by Chef Wayan Semudera, this tender, juicy duck is cooked ever-so slowly and is best enjoyed at the Sungai Restaurant while taking in the stunning scenery.Dragon Wood Carving – A traditional Indonesian symbol of power, strength and good fortune, the dragon wood carvings at the hotel were created by local Balinese craftsmen.Signature Wos Breeze Cocktail – Beat the Bali heat with the Woss Breeze, which blends local ingredients including rum, lime, red chilli, lemongrass, ginger, and fresh mint into a refreshing libation.Wos River – Embrace the true essence of the jungle with the perfect view of the Wos River from the Panorama Pool and Sundeck Lounge.Stone Carvings – Situated at the epicentre of culture in Ubud, the hotel features three stone carvings of Trimurti – the trinity of supreme divinity in Hinduism which represents the three manifestations of God (Brahma, Wisnu, and Siwa).Tegel Tiles – With diverse colours and patterns, the classic vintage and retro tiles in the Naga Rooftop Bar & Lounge are the perfect design surprise when looking down.Bamboo Woven Chair – Take a moment to sit back and enjoy the serenity of the surroundings; located in the Naga Rooftop Bar & Lounge, the bamboo woven chair is a wonderful location to unwind.last_img read more

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More people could be booking flights to Sri Lanka

first_imgMore people could be booking flights to Sri Lanka as the country begins to open up to tourism, the country’s deputy minister for tourism has said.The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau revealed that the country will be rebranded under the tag “Sri Lanka, A Small Miracle”, which replaces the existing “Sri Lanka, A Land Like No Other”.This has been welcomed by Faiszer Musthapha, who said the brand strategy had been “much awaited”.Dileep Mudadeniya, director of the bureau, explained that the exercise involved developing a single idea that could influence people’s perception of the country.”The challenge…was to find an idea that embraces the truth of the country which is relevant to the potential visitor,” he said.Mr Mudadeniya added that it was an “unfathomable mystery” how Sri Lanka managed to fit in so many natural attractions, including palm-fringed beaches, picturesque highlands and vast tea plantations.The country’s national airline, SriLankan Airlines, was founded in 1979 and offers flights to destinations in Asia and Europe. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedIsland idyll: how to have the best holiday in Sri LankaLet us take you on a tour of this colourful island idyll in the Indian Ocean, and we’ll give you some tips on how to get there, when to go and what you cannot miss!More Brits travelling on flights to Sri LankaIncreasing numbers of Brits are booking cheap flights to Sri Lanka thanks to the end of conflict in the country.Top 15 attractions and things to do in ColomboDespite being the largest city in Sri Lanka, Colombo is charming and laid back with plenty of things to see on a city break, from the relaxing waters of Beira Lake to the friendly locals in Dehiwala Zoo.last_img read more

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Read about Skyscanner innovation product people

first_imgRead about Skyscanner innovation, product, people and technology in our corporate blog:http://www.skyscanner.net/blogs RelatedTechnology here, there and everywhereIn Skyscanner, technology and innovation permeate the business and is always part of our mindset – even when we’re not working.Skyscanner search for Spanish interns in BarcelonaSkyscanner recruits Spanish interns for Barcelona officeSkyscanner hosts Fuselab GoSkyscanner hosts two-day event inspiring young people to bring ideas and products to lifelast_img

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RockResorts continues to expand its international

first_imgRockResorts continues to expand its international hotel portfolio with the announcement of its second Caribbean resort, Balcones del Atlántico, A RockResort. Scheduled to open in early 2010, Balcones del Atlántico will embody island elegance and undiscovered natural beauty, blending the Dominican Republic’s local flavor and Latin flair.The multi-room villa-suite resort is ideally situated along the sparkling waters of nearly a mile of white-sand beaches in the small fishing village of Las Terrenas on the Samaná Peninsula of the Dominican Republic. The resort will feature four private spa treatment palapas, two pools with swim-up bars, a three-meal-a-day beach restaurant and bar, and gourmet deli shop. With 86 two- and three-bedroom villa suites, Balcones del Atlántico will offer a stylish and comfortable design with a strong emphasis on the natural surroundings.“Building on the tremendous success of The Landings St. Lucia, A RockResort, which opened two years ago, we were eager to expand in the Caribbean region,” said Paul Toner, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of RockResorts and Vail Resorts Hospitality. “We look forward to managing this island resort and sharing with our guests the iconic beauty of the Dominican Republic, and the exceptional guest service that RockResorts is known for at all of our properties.”The Samaná Peninsula is easily accessible from a number of international airports, offering direct air service from New York, Miami, Boston, Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia. In addition, the Samaná Peninsula has been blessed with tremendous natural attractions like Los Haitises National Park, El Limón Waterfalls, Rincón Bay, Cosón Bay and the vibrant village of Las Terrenas. Located on the north coast of the Samaná Peninsula, Las Terrenas brings together a myriad of cultures including French, German, Italian and Spanish influences and offers resort guests additional options for dining, shopping, nightlife and other activities within a short walk along the beach.www.rockresorts.comlast_img read more

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Marnis clothes draw from art so its no wonder th

first_imgMarni’s clothes draw from art so it’s no wonder that the fashion brand’s second New York boutique was transformed from a former art gallery on East 67th Street. Opened this week, the boutique, located just off Madison Avenue, features a vibrant and stylized design, conceived by Marni founder and creative director Consuelo Castiglioni and London-based architects, Sybarite.The two-floor, 2700-square foot retail space draws from geometry, every aspect having a unique angular simplicity that complements the origami aspects of the clothing. Polished stainless steel panelling wraps around the ground floor, carefully placed so that it becomes a hanging rack for dresses and tops. The fiberglass tables display colorful accessories, echoing modernism and minimalism and proving entirely functional.The cool palate of the room (lilac and gray) combined with the uncomplicated décor suits the avant-garde take Marni has on fashion, the ideal manner in which to showcase the collections. Visit marni.com.last_img read more

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Experience an unforgettable sevenday tour of Bang

first_imgExperience an unforgettable seven-day tour of Bangkok, northern Thailand and Luang Prabang. Be enchanted by the exotic beauty of Phuket. Recline in the comfort of the most luxurious hotels in each location. Travel in the exquisite privacy of a personal Cessna Citation jet in the company of expert local guides who provides an exceptional insight and connection to the local people and culture.DAY 1 After arriving in Bangkok and checking in to your hotel to freshen up, your guide will escort you on a tour of the grandeur and majesty of Bangkok’s Royal Grand Palace. See the throne halls and marvel at the golden domes ceilings and mysterious Emerald Buddha. Overnight at Four Seasons Bangkok.DAY 2 After breakfast, depart from Bangkok by private jet to Chiang Rai. On arrival, visit the bustling trading town of Mae Sai, view ancient ruins at Chiang Saen, and take an exhilarating long-tailed boat ride along the mighty Mekong River. Get a fascinating insight into the Golden Triangle’s dark history at the Hall of Opium museum before checking in at Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa.DAY 3 Watch the early morning mist rise above the mountains of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos as you enjoy a leisurely breakfast. Then the day is yours to explore the pleasures of Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa. Relax by the pool, visit the babies at the nearby elephant camp or take a stroll with 160 acres of lush bamboo jungle.DAY 4 Transfer from the resort for your journey by private jet to Luang Prabang, the most beautiful town in Laos, which boasts a unique blend of temples and colonial buildings set between two rivers and a range of limestone mountains. After checking in to La Residence Phou Vao, enjoy a fascinating day of sightseeing around this UNESCO World Heritage Site and a traditional pun pa lunch.DAY 5 Rise early at dawn to experience life as a local by watching monks in saffron robes collecting their alms before returning to La Residence for breakfast. Later, participate in the traditional Baci ceremony that is at the heart of Lao culture. If time allows, head to the market for some last-minute shopping before departing to the airport. Fly by private luxury jet to Phuket. Overnight at Anantara Phuket Resort & SpaDay 6 A day of leisure to enjoy the tranquillity and laid-back luxury of your private Pool Villa at Anantara Phuket Resort & Spa. Relax by the pool, take a stroll along the secluded Mai Khao beach or try your hand at one of the array of water sports on offer.Day 7 Depart from the hotel to Phuket Airport for your flight.Package includes: – Flight on private Cessna Citation CJ3: Bangkok – Chiang Rai; Chiang Rai – Luang Prabang; Luang Prabang – Phuket -Tours and transfer by private air-conditioned vehicle with English-speaking guide -Activities as mentioned -Entrance fees for mentioned visits -Accommodation at selected hotels in Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Luang Prabang and Phuket in half-twin sharing room with daily breakfastlast_img read more

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NEW YORK NY – PBS will broadcast a BBC news pro

first_img NEW YORK, N.Y. – PBS will broadcast a BBC news program featuring Washington correspondent Katty Kay for the second half of Charlie Rose’s vacated time slot, pairing it with a Christiane Amanpour program that began airing last week.The program, titled “Beyond 100 Days,” features the London-based Christian Fraser as co-anchor. It began as a temporary show to report on the Trump administration, but has continued indefinitely — hence the unusual title. PBS said Tuesday it will begin airing on Jan. 2.PBS has had to move quickly to find content for its 11 p.m. hour after ending Rose’s show suddenly when he was accused of sexual misconduct. He was also fired as a morning anchor at CBS.PBS faces the same challenge now at midnight after cutting Tavis Smiley loose on charges of inappropriate behaviour.The programs replacing Rose’s interviews give PBS an international outlook for the hour. Amanpour’s show is a rebroadcast of one that she does each weekday for CNN International, but it is not aired in the U.S.“Our role is to fill a market gap and I think the international approach is kind of missing in the news space right now,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS’ programming chief.Both programs are interim, however, she said. PBS sought existing programs because they could be ready faster than a show started from scratch. It’s unclear how long CNN wants to have Amanpour’s program rerun on PBS; the network is already in talks with the BBC about a long-term relationship for “Beyond 100 Days.”Kay, who became familiar to American audiences when she anchored a nightly BBC newscast that aired on most PBS stations, said there’s a dedicated core of viewers attracted to the BBC’s objectivity and its take on news inside and outside the U.S.“PBS audiences are smart, informed and global in their outlook,” she said. “They certainly don’t need a particularly tailored product that explains world events to them. What we give them is a unique perspective on world events.”The show was an immediate hit with the BBC’s worldwide audience. Beyond the tweets and drama, viewers overseas are curious about what the Trump administration means for American leadership in the world, she said.Originally conceived to cover the administration’s first 100 days, it was extended and became “100 Days Plus” and finally “Beyond 100 Days.” ”It probably needs some explaining to our American viewers,” Kay said.Hoppe’s got other ideas for the title.“If it stays, we might evolve it into something else,” she said. by David Bauder, The Associated Press Posted Dec 19, 2017 7:48 am PDT Last Updated Dec 19, 2017 at 9:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email PBS to air BBC show with Katty Kay in Rose time slotlast_img read more

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TORONTO – Rising Canadian RBsoul singer Daniel C

first_img TORONTO – Rising Canadian R&B-soul singer Daniel Caesar is getting some heavy rotation on Barack Obama’s speakers and headphones.The former U.S. president has shared a list of his favourite songs of 2017, and the Oshawa, Ont., musician’s name shows up twice.Among Obama’s selections is “Blessed” from Caesar’s Grammy-nominated album “Freudian.”Caesar also appears on Chance the Rapper’s “First World Problems,” a performance the pair debuted on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show last September.Other tracks on Obama’s list include Top 40 hits like “Mi Gente” by J Balvin & Willy William, “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles, and Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble.”There are also critically-acclaimed songs like the National’s “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” and Andra Day’s “Rise Up.”The 22-song list continues a tradition Obama started during his presidency of sharing a music playlist and a selection of his favourite books.Caesar will contend for two Grammys later this month. He’s nominated in the best R&B album category while the song “Get You” is up for best R&B performance.Follow @dfriend on Twitter. by The Canadian Press Posted Jan 2, 2018 8:11 am PDT Last Updated Jan 2, 2018 at 12:40 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Obama selects Canadian R&B star Daniel Caesar for his playlist of favouriteslast_img read more

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3 student gun control activists to be honoured by

first_img3 student gun control activists to be honoured by PEN by The Associated Press Posted Apr 26, 2018 8:53 am PDT Last Updated Apr 26, 2018 at 10:00 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email This combination photo shows Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, from left, Cameron Kasky and Samantha Fuentes, and Zion Kelly, of Washington, who lost his twin brother Zaire to gun violence in the nation’s capital in 2017, during the “March for Our Lives” rally in support of gun control in Washington on March 24, 2018. The three activists will be honored at next month’s PEN America gala on May 22 in New York. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) center_img NEW YORK, N.Y. – Two survivors of the Parkland school massacre in Florida and the twin sibling of a gun victim from Washington, D.C., will be honoured at next month’s PEN America gala.Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Cameron Kasky and Samantha Fuentes, and Washington, D.C., high school student Zion Kelly will be presented the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award. PEN, a literary and human rights organization, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the three students were being cited as representatives of “an inclusive group of young people” fighting for gun control.The gala will be held May 22 in New York City. Others receiving awards include Stephen King, Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy and imprisoned Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.last_img read more

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by David Friend The Canadian Press Posted Aug

first_img by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Aug 15, 2018 9:51 am PDT Last Updated Aug 15, 2018 at 10:40 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Simpsons creator Matt Groening weighs if Homer would’ve voted for Donald Trump TORONTO – Matt Groening’s classic animated series “The Simpsons” predicted Donald Trump’s presidential win 18 years ago, but the creator has a few thoughts about whether Homer Simpson would’ve voted for the former reality star in the most recent U.S. election.“Homer’s not that stupid,” Groening mutters under his breath.He leaves his answer pat on the beloved character who’s often known for his bone-headed decisions. Gatekeepers from Netflix push the interview back onto promoting his latest work, the animated show “Disenchantment,” which begins streaming Friday.But it’s hard to separate Groening from “The Simpsons,” a show that changed television forever with its potent commentary on modern society.Trump’s presidential win played like a joke in “Bart to the Future,” which originally aired in early 2000, and Simpsons fans were quick to reference the episode when it turned into real life nearly two years ago. Homer’s imagined voting preferences were speculated about on entertainment blogs in 2016 and became the subject of a number of “Simpsons” YouTube shorts.Groening’s latest effort, a satirical take on medieval times, doesn’t carry the same pop-culture immediacy, but he insists it still has “some resonances with today’s twilight zone.”He’s been stockpiling ideas for “Disenchantment” since he began scribbling away at fantasy comics as a teenager nearly half a century ago.“This show is something that’s been in the back of my mind since high school,” he says.“I used to draw a comic strip called ‘Tales of the Enchanted Forest’ with talking animals and a little leprechaun.”Those specific characters don’t appear in “Disenchantment” but they do materialize in similar forms as sidekicks to Princess Bean, an alcoholic of royal descent who stumbles into a variety of unfortunate adventures.Princess Bean’s only friends are Elfo, a feisty green elf sometimes crippled by his insecurity, and her pet demon Luci who’s at the heart of many problems in her life.They’re all part of the squalor in Dreamland, a new kingdom that plays as Springfield for the “Game of Thrones” generation. It’s a world where trouble lurks at every turn and Groening says that offers ample opportunity for classic references.“Everybody grew up with fairy tales,” Groening reasons as he points to familiar characters like Hansel and Gretel, whose unhinged appearance in one episode allowed him to “really have fun” with new interpretations.Coming up with fresh storylines wasn’t a problem either, he says, even after working for years churning out original ideas for “The Simpsons” and “Futurama.”He drew on outside influences that included the “Fractured Fairy Tales” segment of Rocky and Bullwinkle and seminal films like “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” which inspired a hearty serving of grisly jokes about disease and executioners.None of those scenes would’ve passed muster with TV network censors, which Groening admits took a little getting used to.With Netflix backing the series, Groening was offered a freedom he’d never had before. At first he tried to exploit it whenever he could, though he says it quickly became clear that being raunchy and violent didn’t necessarily serve the series.“We realized it wasn’t as fun as we thought it would be,” he says. “So we pulled back.”Still, Groening snuck in a scattering of colourful language, a touch of nudity and some gruesome death scenes that would never have made the TV cut in the past.“If you’re familiar with the other shows I don’t think you’ll feel suddenly betrayed by the new crass depths to which we might’ve sunk,” he says.“But yeah, I would say we push it a little bit.”Follow @dfriend on Twitter.center_img Characters from Matt Groening’s Netflix show “Disenchantment” is seen in this undated handout photo. Groening’s latest effort “Disenchantment,” a satirical take on the medieval times which begins streaming on Friday, doesn’t carry the same pop culture immediacy, but he insists it still has “some resonances with today’s twilight zone.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Matt Groening, The Ululu Company, Netflix *MANDATORY CREDIT* last_img read more

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