May 07, 2009

Gone are the days when concierges were expected to simply secure tables at vaunted restaurants. Over the past two years, hotels have introduced bath butlers to choose bubbles and water sommeliers to explain the difference between Evian and Fiji. Lately, even more inventive services are on offer. JUICE IT UP: At the new Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes (4012 Central Florida Pkwy.; 407/529-2255; doubles from $199), a citrus steward mixes individually designed fruit concoctions. LIGHT YOUR FIRE: The Ritz-Carlton, Boston (15 Arlington St.; 617/536-5700; doubles with fireplaces from $425) has a concierge to prepare in-room hearths with one of four scented woods. GO TO BED: A shut-eye expert at the Benjamin (125 E. 50th St., New York; 212/715-2500; doubles from $460) chooses from 11 types of pillows, based on your sleep patterns. PARK THE KIDS: A Kid-sierge is on staff at nine U.S. Park Hyatt Hotels (800/778-7477) to put together youth oriented itineraries. hire a trainer: Body concierges at the BodyHoliday at LeSport (St. Lucia; 800/544-2883 or 758/457-7819; doubles $500) take fitness fanatics through strenuous regimens. Willing guests can expect washboard abs.
—Karen Burshtein

Taj Boston

The epitome of Boston sophistication, the Taj Boston, formerly the Ritz-Carlton, is perfectly perched in downtown Boston overlooking both the Public Garden and the Frog Pond at Boston Common. The hotel, originally opened in 1927, feels like a luxurious, opulent private residence. Guest rooms and suites are decorated in elegant hues of gold, rose and blue, and many offer sweeping city views. Guests can admire the property’s collection of art and antiques, displayed throughout its public areas. The hotel offers plenty of amenities for discerning guests, including in-room massages, afternoon tea and the chic Channel boutique.

The Benjamin

Housed in a 1927 Beaux-Arts building designed by famed architect Emery Roth, this midtown hotel is located within a mile of Times Square. The high-ceilinged lobby has a marble floor and illuminated columns, while the 209 guestrooms are more basic, designed with a good night’s sleep in mind. Soft, all-white Anichini linens are complemented by the hotel’s signature 12-choice pillow menu (which has options like buckwheat, magnetic therapy, and Swedish memory). There’s also a sleep concierge who can arrange bedtime snacks and massages at the on-site spa. Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian owns the hotel's James Beard Award-winning restaurant, the National.

Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

The relative isolation of this property on 500 acres of undeveloped, well-tended land about three miles east of SeaWorld results in a pleasing quiet otherwise unknown in these parts. A businesslike hotel with a surfeit of Italianate pink marble, the Ritz has 582 rooms spread through a U-shaped tower. Large California-meets-Italy rooms have king-size beds, chaises, and balconies; bathrooms have separate bathtubs and showers and Bulgari toiletries. Outside, there’s a pretty pool lined with spouting statues, a 40,000-square-foot spa, a Greg Norman–designed golf course, and an elaborate free-form swimming pool.

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