Travel company apologizes for creating dummy of family’s dead son in tribute gone wrong

A British travel company apologized to a family after the staff at a Jamaican resort created a dummy of their dead son in a tribute attempt gone very wrong. Faye and Andrew Stephens of Willesden, England, have a yearly tradition of celebrating their son Alex Stephens’ birthday since he died in 2014. The 22-year-old man died while … Continue reading “Travel company apologizes for creating dummy of family’s dead son in tribute gone wrong”

A British travel company apologized to a family after the staff at a Jamaican resort created a dummy of their dead son in a tribute attempt gone very wrong.

Faye and Andrew Stephens of Willesden, England, have a yearly tradition of celebrating their son Alex Stephens’ birthday since he died in 2014. The 22-year-old man died while on vacation in Spain after falling off a balcony, The Guardian reported.

The man’s godmother, Karen Baker, was on vacation with the couple in Jamaica when she arranged to have the staff of the Royalton Resort hang some balloons and decorations for Alex Stephens for his birthday. Baker said the gesture was meant as a surprise but it went south after the employees went to a different level by stuffing clothing with towels and creating a dummy of the man.

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A picture of the tribute showed the makeshift dummy, with tears on its face, holding a cake and a can of lager.

“Happy birthday. We miss you Alex,” a sign next to the dummy read. When Baker saw the effigy, she started to sweat and shake.

"I was absolutely horrified — as you can imagine I was sweating and shaking. We just didn't want our friends to see it,” Baker told the BBC. "I have truly never seen anything like it. I still look at the photographs now and can't believe somebody thought to do that.”

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TUI UK, the travel company, apologized to the family and refunded their vacation.

“We offer our sincere apologies to the Baker party for their holiday experience in Jamaica. We’re following up with the hotel and believe it was a misunderstanding with no intention to cause upset,” the statement read. “We would like to thank the Bakers for making us aware. We are in direct contact with the group to apologize and offer a gesture of goodwill.”

Kathleen Joyce is a breaking/trending news producer for FoxNews.com. You can follow her at @Kathleen_Joyce8 on Twitter.

Hotel guest suing Hilton for $100 million, claims ‘perv’ filmed her showering and used footage to blackmail her

A hotel guest is suing Hilton Worldwide for $100 million, claiming she was unknowingly filmed showering at a Hampton Inn and Suites in Albany, N.Y., in 2015 — and then blackmailed by the "perv" who took the footage.

The lawsuit, filed in Virginia, where Hilton Worldwide is based, claims that the woman initially had no knowledge that her privacy was invaded until September of this year, when the self-described “perv” reached out and informed her of his actions.

"It was like I had been hit by a truck. It just knocked the wind out of me," said the woman, whose identity has not been revealed, in an interview with "Good Morning America" earlier this week.

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According to the lawsuit, the woman, from Chicago, received an email from the blackmailer on Sept. 30, containing a link to the footage that had been posted to a pornographic website. Her name was also shared on the site, the Albany Times Union reports. The next day, the blackmailer followed up with more personal information, including her reason for being in New York, which was to take the bar exam.

“I'm a perv. I don't hurt anyone. I like to watch,” one portion of the email read. “No need to worry about me I just like to watch and then I move on to the next.”

The blackmailer later asked the woman in a separate email to “promise me my own show," or else the videos would remain on the Internet and “get copied on every website.”

The emailer later threatened to distribute the videos and her personal information all over the Internet if she didn’t respond by the end of the day — a threat the blackmailer followed through on by Oct. 11, according to the suit.

The blackmailer continued to torment the woman throughout the rest of the month, at times calling her a "whore" and a "b—-," the Times Union reported. The emailer also began sending the footage to her co-workers and eventually asking that she begin sending $1,000 for the next year, along with $2,000 up front, presumably to stop the distribution.

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The woman’s lawyer, Roland Christensen, said he believes the blackmailer to be an employee of the hotel based on the suspect’s knowledge of his client’s personal information, NBC News reported. He said, however, that the suspect’s exact identity has not been determined.

Christensen also said he believes the hotel room was “used repeatedly to film people over an extended period,” and says he is aware of at least one other secretly filmed video showing a different guest in that same room, according to “GMA.”

In a statement provided to the Times Union, Hilton Worldwide has vowed to support the Hampton Inn with its investigation into the incident.

"We take the safety and well-being of our guests incredibly seriously, and find the details included in the civil filing distressing,” a spokesperson stated. “We will support the independent ownership and management of the property as they investigate, respond, and cooperate with any law enforcement investigations."

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A representative for Hilton Worldwide was not immediately available to comment for Fox News.

Hotel chain now offering ‘Social Media Sitters’ for millennial travelers

If you go on vacation and don’t post photos to Instagram, did you even really go on vacation at all?

As many millennial travelers know, capturing the best pics for social media is a big part of the trip. But instead of wasting precious time scoping out the hottest spots the city has to offer, guests at one hotel chain in Switzerland can have someone else do the work for them.

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Ibis Hotel is now offering the service of “social media sitter,” a local Influencer who will take over your account and post photos for you so you can spend time exploring “without a smartphone in front of your face.”

“Enjoy your city trip without digital stress. Our Social Media Sitter takes care of your Instagram profile. And you can explore the city in peace,” a translation of the website reads.

Some of the “sitters” include Sara Leutenegger, a contestant on Germany’s Next Top Model television show; Cristina Gheiceanu, a lifestyle blogger; and Sylwina, a DJ based in Zurich.

Guests provide their sitter with their social media password and fill them in on their interests and expectations. Then all photos will be tagged #postedbysocialmediasitter, according to the Evening Standard.

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The service, which starts at around $89, is designed to help guests with a “digital detox.”

“Millennials experience special moments rarely without distraction. ’Pics or it did not happen' is their mantra,” according to a statement from the hotel, per the Standard.

Michelle Gant is a writer and editor for Fox News Lifestyle.

Photos: Inside the historic Indian hotel where Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas wed

This weekend, India’s Umaid Bhawan Palace will play host to one of the most star-studded, over-the-top weddings of the year.

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas are taking over the Jodhpur hotel for three days for an elaborate ceremony, with no expenses spared. The ceremonies will be held in different locations around Rajasthan, according to The Daily Mail, but the focal point will be on the Umaid Bhawan Palace for Sunday night’s grand finale.

The hotel hosting the wedding is an actual royal palace, and one of the world’s largest private residences. The palace has 347 rooms, some of which are operated by Taj Hotels. It spreads across 26 acres, which are monitored by freely-moving peacocks. (Getty)

The hotel hosting the wedding is an actual royal palace, and one of the world’s largest private residences. The palace has 347 rooms, some of which are operated by Taj Hotels. It spreads across 26 acres, which are monitored by freely-moving peacocks.

While part of the palace is a hotel, another part still houses the “erstwhile royal family of Jodhpur, and is one of the last remaining great palaces of India,” according to the hotel’s website. (Getty)

It was built between 1928 and 1943, with the very same palm court marble that was used to build the Taj Mahal in Agra. While part of the palace is a hotel, another part still houses the “erstwhile royal family of Jodhpur, and is one of the last remaining great palaces of India,” according to the hotel’s website.

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  • The palace is frequently referred to as among the last of India’s great palaces. (Getty)

    The palace is located on Chittar Hill, the highest point in Jodhpur. From the hill, there’s a panoramic view of the city with a wave of sand dunes in the distance. The palace is frequently referred to as among the last of India’s great palaces.

    This won’t be the hotel’s first celeb rodeo. (Getty)

    This won’t be the hotel’s first celeb rodeo. It has plenty of A-list credentials. Over the years, celebrity clientele have included Mick Jagger and Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. This isn’t even the hotels’ first celebrity wedding. In 2016, the hotel hosted the wedding of Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar, with celebrities guests Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Sting and Diana Ross in attendance.

    Celebrities expected to attend the Jonas wedding include Kelly Ripa, Lupita Nyong’o and Dwayne Johnson. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and Chopra’s best friend, will not be in attendance. (Getty)

    Celebrities expected to attend the Jonas wedding include Kelly Ripa, Lupita Nyong’o and Dwayne Johnson. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex and Chopra’s best friend, will not be in attendance.

    This story was originally published by Travel + Leisure

    You can stay at the ‘most remote hotel in the world’ for free

    If you’re really looking to get away from it all this winter, then Hotels.com is here to help. In fact, they’re willing to pay for your getaway too, but with one major catch: You need to be willing to stay in one of the most remote hotels in the world.

    Just 450 people live in the town of Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland. The nearest community is a whopping 497 miles away. It sits at the edge of the Arctic Ocean, where icebergs abound. And it’s exactly where Hotels.com wants you to spend your winter holiday.

    Starting today, Travel Tuesday 2018, through Dec. 31, Hotels.com will be picking up the tab for bookings at the Guest House in Ittoqqortoormiit for travel throughout the month of March.

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  • At the Guest House, guests can choose from its seven rooms, each of which come with comfy plush beds and common areas for lounging with other adventurers. Though the rooms are certainly nice, the real reason for the trip is right outside its doors.

    In Ittoqqortoormiit guests can take part in dog sledding missions across the icy terrain, but watch out, as polar bears and other arctic wildlife including musk oxen, reindeer, and walruses may be roaming around (it is their home too, after all).

    After a day on the ice, guests can sit back, relax, and enjoy a local meal. Though, the trip may also be best for those who enjoy a good meat or fish dish as fishing and hunting are really the only means of foraging for food in the area.

    Finally, guests can top off their excursion by stepping outside to experience the glorious Northern Lights show above.

    While Hotels.com is picking up the room tab, guests will still have to get to the town themselves. That, Hotels.com, explained, takes “two planes, a jaw-dropping helicopter, and a bumpy ATV ride,” but really, it’s all a part of the exciting journey. Now, you’ve just got to pack your warmest winter coats, book your flight, and get there.