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Hilton Knows You Don't Like People

The days of waiting in line in hotel lobbies might soon become a thing of the past. Ditto the necessity of talking to a real live human who works at the hotel. Hilton Worldwide announced today that guests staying at its hotels will be able to check in and out via their mobile devices by the end of this year. The behemoth hospitality chain will also give potential visitors the opportunity to pick their rooms and will share photos and floor plans to help customers make more informed decisions when booking.

"For nearly a century, our guests have counted on us to consistently deliver exceptional experiences around the world, and in today's digitally connected culture, that means providing them with more choice and control over their hotel stay through technology," Christopher Nassetta, Hilton Worldwide's president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

As USA Today reports, Geraldine Calpin, global head of digital at Hilton Worldwide, recalled a recent online survey of 1,009 travelers that found that 84 percent of respondents wanted to pick their own room, much like airline passengers can pick their seats.

"We are giving our guests the ability to do just that by enabling them to select not just their room type, but the exact location in the hotel, all the way down to their room number," Calpin said. By the end of 2016, Hilton also hopes to have smartphone key technology available at most of its hotels, making plastic key cards obsolete.

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Lose Weight, Get Rich

People use all kinds of incentives to lose weight, but citizens of Dubai might just have the best one yet. 

The city's "Your Child in Gold" program gives participants one gram of gold for every pound lost. Unless you're a kid—then you get two grams.

The program was first held last summer under the name "Your Weight in Gold" and primarily focused on adults. More than 35 pounds of gold—valued at $762,340—were distributed among participants, according to Quartz. This year, the program includes children so families can get involved and lose weight together.

But those who enroll have to pull their weight to earn the rewards. Only two children per family can participate, and each participant must lose a minimum of two kilograms, or 4.4 pounds, to be eligible. "This program is not just about winning gold for a short-term commitment to exercise," said Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Center (DMCC) in an Emirates 24/7 report. "It aims to encourage society to permanently adopt a healthier lifestyle. That is one of many reasons why DMCC is increasing its contribution to the campaign this year by providing Dh150,000 worth of gold with the ultimate goal of raising awareness of the benefits of exercise combined with a healthy diet."

The Kahleej Times reports that the campaign will run from July 15 to September 15, and the civic body has kept an open budget for the initiative. The metropolis certainly lives up to its "City of Gold" nickname.

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Will-Powered Wheels

You're dangerously overweight and in pain. You could feel resigned to your situation, or you could be like Shane Gorrell, who's taking the road less traveled to deal with his size and health. The Longview, Washington, resident is on an 1,840-mile weight-loss mission: Despite having no previous cycling experience and against the direction of medical professionals, the 300-pound, 6-foot-3 Gorrell is biking 40 miles a day to Sedona, Arizona.

Gorrell, who started the ride at 332 pounds, decided it was time to do something drastic when his weight began impeding his career. He was in the process of building an Internet start-up called Buyer Saver, but claims on his website that "he was often not taken seriously, for his weight was so noticeable." Gorrell hopes to reach 220 pounds.

Gorrell's covering all his bases. Behind his Quintana Roo bike, he's pulling a 110-pound trailer—which he welded himself—filled with necessities, including an ice cooler, a tent, a hammock, bear spray, and a blender.

To rev up his weight loss, Gorrell has been drinking nothing but four 20-ounce green smoothies (six cucumbers, four apples, eight celery stalks, and half a lemon makes four smoothies) each day since he began his journey on July 9. To make the drinks, he asks people along the route if he can hook up his blender to their home via extension cord, in exchange for some smoothie.

"It's easier to drop a cord at someone's house and share a green juice with them than it is to drive up to a Starbucks," Gorrell told the Longview Daily News

He hasn't consulted a nutritionist, but he has seen doctors at a Eugene, Oregon, urgent care clinic—his knees have been aching. A forklift injury in 2006 gave Gorrell a host of maladies: a fractured tibia, sustained deep-bone bruising on both knees, permanent neck whiplash, and even a sprained back; his left meniscus was replaced in 2011. The Eugene doctors and his orthopedic surgeon discouraged him from continuing his ride, but Gorrell is determined. 

"What's keeping me going is because I could sit at home and believe the doctor and keep getting fat and die from a heart attack, or I can just keep going," Gorrell said. "Either way I'm going to have pain. … I've traveled almost all the way through Oregon with no bicycle training and with a bad knee, so I have a lot of willpower."

Follow Gorrell's journey on, his YouTube channel, or radio interviews every Friday at 4 p.m. PST on KVSL.

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A Heavenly Lodge in the Land of Light

Iceland is so full of adventure, it can be hard to know where to dive in. Plenty of lodges offer great accommodations, but few can match Hótel Glymur’s access and views. A quick 45-minute drive from Reykjavík, Glymur is set amid the countless hikes, rivers, and volcanic fields around 20-mile-long Whale Fjord. The lodge has 22 rooms and three suites, but we suggest splurging on one of the six villas, which have floor-to-ceiling views of the fjord, state-of-the-art kitchens, and private geothermal hot tubs outside. From there, head 13 miles east to the highest waterfall in the country (and the hotel’s namesake), which cascades 643 feet in a single drop from the Botsna River over the side of Hvalfell volcano. Inaccessible by road, the waterfall is one of Iceland’s least visited attractions—and one of its most stunning. The hotel will point guests in the direction of the trailhead, a 20-minute drive away. After the five-mile hike, return to a dinner of lamb fillet served with blueberry sauce and baked potatoes. Then pour yourself a Reyka vodka with a lemon twist and take it out to the hot tub to toast the waning midnight sun.


Icelandic Getaway: A Few Pointers

Access: Fly Iceland Air to Keflavík International Airport in Reykjavík. Rent a car at Höldur (from $197); no four-wheel-drive needed in summer. Rooms from $300, villas from $480.

Climate: In August, 55° high and 46° low

Detour: The 5,200-foot-long Vidgelmir Lava Tube is only 46 miles northwest of the hotel. Extreme Iceland helps you explore it and other caves in the Hallmundarhraun lava field ($1,060 for two).

Indulge: Made right at the lodge, Glymur’s ice cream ($18) is infused with chocolate cake bits and soft caramel. 

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Oscar Mayer Wake Up and Smell the Bacon Alarm

For the sake of your waistline, you probably don’t eat bacon every morning. But thanks to new device, you can now wake up daily to its tantalizing smell—without packing on the pounds.    

The Oscar Mayer Wake Up & Smell the Bacon app and device is exactly what you’d expect given the name. Plug the gadget into the bottom of your iPhone, set the alarm, and when it goes off, a bacon smell (accompanied by sizzling sounds) is released.

It's the best of bacon—without the calories—coming to your night stand from the Oscar Mayer Institute For the Advancement of Bacon.

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