Hotel executive Katherine Melchior Ray knows how to stay stylish on the fly.
Although Katherine Melchior Ray, the vice president of luxury brands at Hyatt Hotels, is on the road at least twice a month, she never forgets to pack a touch of home. “I bring my own coffee mug. That way, I don’t feel like I’m in a hotel, especially if I’m in bed and the sun’s coming in.”
A quartet of fresh-faced openings in the Northeast is breathing new life into the B&B.
Lexington, Massachusetts The Inn at Hastings Park (pictured) has 22 tastefully decorated rooms (handwoven blankets; Peter Fasano wallpaper) in three historic buildings just 25 minutes from downtown Boston. Chef Mathew Molloy uses produce from local farms in New England–centric dishes such as seared scallops with gnocchi, corn, and lobster stew. $$
Lewes, Delaware The owners of the celebrated Dogfish Head brewery recently opened the eclectic, 16-room Dogfish Inn. It’s located a mile from Lewes Beach and about three from Cape Henlopen State Park, so beer lovers can swim, bike, and hike, then quench their thirst at the brewery itself, right up the road. $$
At the newly opened Peninsula Paris, there are two entrances. The first is on Avenue Kléber, where steps lead up to a large terrace café and then into the lobby restaurant. The stairs are flanked by two imposing Chinese lion statues in white marble, among the few overt signs of the hotel group’s venerable Hong Kong heritage. The 19th-century limestone building and slate-tiled mansard roof are otherwise classically Parisian, overlooking the wide, tree-lined avenue. Indeed, the hotel is an emblem of Haussmann’s Paris—stately and confident, a block away from the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, in the 16th Arrondissement. The stonework façade is intricately detailed and like the entire building has been carefully restored; a glass-and-steel canopy extends origami-like over the entrance. This is the public face of the hotel, promising glamour and the cosmopolitan rush of the city, a place of coming and going, a place to see and be seen.
There’s nothing quite like the hotel spa experience. You can book an appointment last-minute; ride the elevator wearing just a bathrobe (with no shame); bask in a beautifully designed space; and head back to your room without even glancing at a bill.
These days, hotel spas are stepping up their game, partnering with top beauty brands to bring a new level of sophistication to their treatments and products. Here, one of our favorites:
6:24 p.m.: You’re on the verge of sensory overload. It’s golden hour at the new 160-room One&Only Hayman Island, a green haven on the Great Barrier Reef, and you’re reliving the day’s adventures. It began with a seaplane flight over this, the world’s largest living structure, touching down to snorkel in a pristine lagoon that exploded with color: rainbow-hued parrot fish bobbing among forests of staghorn coral, glowing purple and pink; green turtles and manta rays commuting casually by. (And don’t forget the giant clams, whose magenta lips slowly closed into contented grins as you swam past.) Lunch was a picnic and a chilled Barossa Valley rosé on the blazing-white sands of Coconut Beach. Now you’re back in a breezy cabana, met by a server with a tray of tart passion-fruit daiquiris to cleanse your palate for the evening ahead. What next? Take a short hike to Sunset Peak to catch the day’s last light? Maybe. Book an “Ocean Dreaming” massage, performed as you float on the warm tides of the Coral Sea? That sounds more like it. Then you remember you’ve planned a kayak trip tomorrow morning to one of Hayman’s secluded coves, and decide it’s best to tuck in early. So you head back to your suite, order up a platter of Sydney rock oysters, and count the shooting stars.
For much of the 1970’s, my father was a traveling salesman, moving across the country by car and plane. Upon returning home, he’d empty his nicked hotel keys into a green wooden crate. The box lived on the top shelf of my parents’ closet, and I used to pull out a chair and stand on my tippy-toes to reach it, then lie on the floor and sort the 200 or so keys by fob shape, destination, or hotel chain. For a little girl in a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, that box of keys was a window to the exciting world outside.
Each key tells a story. There’s one from the Host Motel, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where Dad found himself during the historic flood of 1972. There’s another from the scary Rodeway Inn in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he knew to put a chair under the doorknob at night. (“But they had great ribs,” he insisted.) There are the many Ramada Inns, from exotic places like Portland, Oregon, and even more Howard Johnsons and Holiday Inns, whose purloined towels hung neatly in our bathroom—I imagined the stylized star to be our family crest. One lone cast-iron key from the King David Jerusalem was pilfered during my parents’ honeymoon; the Quality Inn in Omaha was from the night I was born, Dad off to chase a deal. My father would rave about the gym at Chicago’s Hyatt Regency O’Hare because it was such a luxury—those keys signified boom times.
The city where travelers can find the most affordable five-star hotels in the world? Warsaw, Poland, where the average luxury room went for just $130 a night in the first six months of 2014. This is according to the annual Hotel Price Index from Hotels.com, which looks at how much people spent for rooms at properties across the globe over the first half of the year.
Before we let longtime Travel + Leisure editor in chief Nancy Novogrod walk out the door to pursue new opportunities (including writing a book), we had a few questions for her. As you can imagine, after 21 years traversing the globe on behalf of the magazine, Nancy has some opinions about travel—how it has evolved, where it’s going, and what experiences and destinations rise to the top. Here, the Nancy Novogrod Exit Interview.
These days, competition is heating up in the hotel industry. The big chains are not only competing against each other, but they’re also competing against online travel agencies and startups like Rocketmiles and Hotelied for your business. When you book through the hotel directly, it’ll give you points, whereas reserving through online travel agencies generally disqualifies your stay from earning valuable hotel points and possibly even getting your elite status. So if you want those points, book directly with the hotel—especially during the busy fall travel season when many brands offer lucrative promotions.
Here are the major hotel chains and their promotion details. You should always double check and make sure that the hotel you want to book isn’t listed as an exclusion—a lot of hotels opt out of these promotions because they get charges for the extra points. You may also want to plan your stays around the days where you’ll earn the most points.
Less than $200 a night and brand new. Meet the latest crop of affordable new hotels in the U.S.
The Remote Outpost: Outlook Lodge, Colorado Springs, Colorado
To get to the new Outlook Lodge, in Colorado, you’ll set off along a dirt road into the Rocky Mountains. After being welcomed by a strapping host, you’re on your own to explore the area trails or just grab a book and relax on the rustic porch.