I “Traveled Brilliantly” with Marriott Hotels… and I loved it!

I “Traveled Brilliantly” with Marriott Hotels… and I loved it!

You know when you meet a group of people that are so fun and open to adventure that it adds to your trip? Well, that’s what happened on my last trip to San Francisco with the Marriott team.

When Marriott Hotels  asked me to join their San Francisco #TravelBrilliantly project at their San Francisco Marriott Marquis property, I jumped at the chance to work with them.

They asked me if I could come up with a fun adventure that I could share with their team, and fellow bloggers, Matt Armendariz from“Matt Bites” and Cassandra LaValle from the blog,“coco+kelley”. The other perk: reuniting with my friend, the ever-so-fantastic, Shira Lazar, who was to host the day’s festivities.

We all had tasks. I was to bring on the adventure, Matt was to introduce us to his foodie world, and Cassandra was there to get us creative with design –  we  created natural floral arrangements at Studio Choo in San Bruno.

So, I went with GoCars– motorcycle meets Go Kart type vehicles that whisk you around the city, in traffic, and sometimes at pretty snappy speeds. What’s fun about it is, it’s not really something you find everywhere, and it kind of pushes the envelope for some people in the “I’m not this adventurous” space.

I grew up on ATV’s and motorcycles, even racing them at times, so when I heard that my dear buddy Shira hadn’t done something like this before, I stepped aside to let her experience it as the driver.

Sometimes, the best adventure is granting one to someone else and letting them break their own boundaries and explore.

The looks on everyone’s faces were priceless– a little mix of fear and “OMG can we do this?”, as our instructor shared how to go, stop, use turn signals, and how to back up.

We headed out to Crissy field, (Shira at the wheel in our GoCar) a former WWII landing strip turned park, which sits just under the Golden Gate Bridge. We made it as far as the East Beach, just past the Marina, for our money shot– the Golden Gate Bridge.

After dropping the “cars” back at GoCar headquarters, we headed to Mijita for some of the best Mexican food in the city, which was followed by our floral design class.

We wrapped up our day, with an evening in the View Lounge at the top of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, where we celebrated our adventures, and invited guests got to join us– learning about the many new features Marriott is igniting for our digital future. Some of the highlights Marriott showed party guests were an Interactive Design table where you can design your own hotel guest room (I loved that!), test and vote on your favorite banquet chair – one of which could be used in Marriott Hotels properties globally, and there was a Travel Brilliantly kiosk that allowed you to submit your travel ideas directly to TravelBrilliantly.com.

I can certainly say, Marriott went beyond the four hotel walls and made every aspect of my trip brilliant; from the food to our transportation, Marriott rocked my SF trip by encouraging us all to step outside the box and get adventurous!

What is great for all of you, is that Marriott wants to hear from you. Head to TRAVELBRILLIANTLY.COM and share a travel tip, story, or an idea of how you’d travel brilliantly with Marriott!

I’ve included the press release below, so you can learn more about Marriott Hotels’ innovative work spaces, mobile check-in and more.

Marriott Hotels and Shira Lazar — Host of “What’s Trending” — Celebrate Transformative “Travel Brilliantly” Campaign with Evening of Innovation

SAN FRANCISCO – July 26, 2013 – The host and co-founder of the Emmy-nominated “What’s Trending,” Shira Lazar joined with Marriott Hotels for an evening of innovation as part of the brand’s “Travel Brilliantly” campaign. Guests at last night’s interactive cocktail party at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis got to design their own guest room layouts on an interactive table, and test four banquet chairs – one of which could be implemented in Marriott Hotels’ properties throughout the world – and vote for their favorite on Twitter.

Marriott’s “Travel Brilliantly” campaign is engaging influencers, experts and travelers to submit their groundbreaking ideas to improve the modern travel experience in the realms of design, culinary, health & wellness and technology on TravelBrilliantly.com. Lazar, who is one of the judges on TravelBrilliantly.com, will choose the grand-prize winner from among the most innovative consumer- generated ideas. The winner will have the opportunity to travel with and design future innovations alongside Marriott experts, impacting travel for the next generation.

Lazar welcomed guests to The View, the hotel’s scenic lounge on the 39th floor, where they were asked to engage in and re-imagine the future of travel through a series of live interactive stations showcasing the brand’s latest innovations, including the Greatroom lobby concept, restaurants, meetings and guest room desks. In addition to designing their own guest rooms and testing new banquet chairs, attendees visited the iPad kiosk to submit their ideas on TravelBrilliantly.com to co-create with Marriott on the future of travel. Event-goers were asked to join in the conversation by posting event highlights and by incorporating the designated #TravelBrilliantly hash tag into posts.

Marriott Hotels’ evening of innovation was co-hosted by prolific, high-profile bloggers Matt Armendariz (of culinary blog, “Matt Bites”), Cassandra Lavalle, (of design-oriented “coco+kelley”), Stefanie Michaels (of travel blog “Adventure Girl”) as well as Matthew Carroll, Vice President, Global Brand Management, Marriott Hotels.

Furthering Marriott Hotels’ transformation, the iconic brand has been innovating throughout its hotels globally.  Re-designed lobbies and public spaces known as Greatrooms are being rapidly deployed for the next generation of travelers who seamlessly and effortlessly mix work and play, and believe that travel enhances both. Who value technology as central to their lives, and recognize the importance of style and design. As the industry leader in hosting meetings, Marriott is introducing new concepts designed for the new mobile worker including Workspring at Marriott, Red Coat Direct and Workspace on Demand. Additionally, Marriott Hotels has recently unveiled its “underground” Innovation Lab in its Bethesda, MD headquarters, which provides inspiration for the interactive table featured at the event.

About Marriott Hotels?
With 500 hotels and resorts in nearly 60 countries around the world, Marriott Hotels is evolving travel through every aspect of the guest’s stay, enabling the next generation to Travel Brilliantly. Boldly transforming itself for mobile and global travelers who blend work and play, Marriott leads the industry with innovations, including the Greatroom, Future of Meetings and Mobile Guest Services that elevates style & design and technology. All Marriott hotels participate in the award winning Marriott Rewards frequent travel program that allows members to earn hotel points or airline miles for every dollar spent during each stay. For more information, visit www.MarriottHotels.com.

To join the ongoing Marriott conversation, like us on Facebook (Facebook.com/Marriott) and follow us on Twitter (Twitter.com/Marriott, @Marriott).

Visit Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) for company information. For more information or reservations, please visit our web site at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com.

About Shira Lazar
Shira Lazar is the host and Co-Founder of What’s Trending, the Emmy-nominated, live, interactive talk show that airs daily on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/whatstrending. Named to Variety’s Women Impact Report in 2012, and Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Tech in 2011, Shira is at the center of what’s hot, having worked as a correspondent for ABC/The Oscars, CBS/The Grammys, Yahoo!, Entrepreneur, and many others. For more, visit whatstrending.com.