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“The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia has free entry for the permanent collection.” —Iwan D. Diran, via Facebook
This morning, Hotel Chatter published its 2013 Hotel Wifi Report, showcasing the best and worst internet service in the industry. The exhaustive study finds that 64% of hotels worldwide offer free wifi, a service Hotel Chatter insists is “as essential as a working shower or air conditioning.”
Paradoxically, as many T+L readers have discovered, the hotels most likely to charge extra for internet service are high-end properties that demand hefty nightly rates to begin with. In fact, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, 84% of luxury hotels charge for in-room internet service, while just 8% of economy hotels do.
Travel + Leisure has been keeping tabs on which hotel brands provide free wifi to guests, and acknowledges these few major brands that buck the trend:
Third Place: A tie between Fairmont, Kimpton, and Omni hotels
Each of these brands gives free wifi in common areas and in guestrooms if you join their (also free) loyalty programs.
Second Place: Andaz
All Andaz properties provide free in-room and lobby internet access to all guests.
First Place: Peninsula and Shangri-La Hotels
Both of these hotel companies give free wifi not just in the hotel rooms and common areas, but also in their automobile fleet!
Be sure to check out Hotel Chatter's in depth report here.
Peter Schlesinger is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Photo by John Huba
An overwater bungalow may be the closest you’ll get to your own private island. Go ahead—dive in.
Cambodia: A luxury pioneer on the southeastern shore, Song Saa Private Island Resort ($$$$$) has eight salvaged-timber villas set right in the salty blue. Make sure to visit the sea horses and turtles at the protected marine reserve—the country’s first.
Mexico: Suspended over a freshwater lagoon, the 18 suites at Rosewood Mayakoba ($$$$) are the perfect escape at Playa del Carmen’s most secluded resort. You’ll love the plunge pools and views of the lush mangroves.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel, Gatsby refutes Nick Carraway’s assertion you cannot repeat the past: "Can't repeat the past?" he cried incredulously. "Why of course you can.”
Hoteliers seem to agree with Gatsby, as evidenced by a slew of promotions tied in with the upcoming release of Baz Lurhman’s new film, The Great Gatsby.
New York’s Plaza Hotel, which features prominently in the novel, has announced its “The Great Gatsby Getaway Contest.” Anyone who snaps a 1920’s themed picture of themselves and posts it on Instagram with the hashtag #theplazapremiere has a chance to win seats at the New York premiere of the film, along with a night at the iconic property. Hurry though, the contest ends April 24th.
Nearby, the Trump International Hotel & Tower is offering the Trump ‘Great Gatsby’ Package. Guests spend three nights in suites overlooking Central Park, enjoying some top-notch perks. Men receive a custom-tailored suit and shirt from Bergdorf Goodman and Art Deco cufflinks, while women will go home with an Ivanka Trump Art Deco jewelry and a personalized note from Ivanka herself. Dinner at Three-Michelin-Star restaurant Jean Georges, a magnum of champagne, and chauffeured car-service are also included. This Roaring Twenties extravaganza comes with a roaring price tag… $14,999.
And while not directly related to the classic novel, these other properties do their best to bring back some of that Gatsby glamour:
° The SLS Hotel South Beach: Opened this past June, the Philippe Starck-designed waterfront hotel brings a 1940 property back to its former glory. Trompe l’oeil walls, murals, and a gigantic rubber ducky by the pool add a touch of whimsy to this art-deco gem.
° Hotel Shangrila, Santa Monica: Another art-deco property, this 1939 building has recently undergone a multimillion-dollar renovation. The 71 rooms and suites feature period furnishings and decorations. This year, there are two promotional packages celebrating the renovation.
Then again, if hotel suites don’t do it for you, why not be like Gatsby and throw a party at your own private mansion? With water frontage, a grand pool, and lots of vintage charm, the Luxury Retreats villa Locusts on Hudson, in the Hudson Valley, lets you feel like you’re living in West Egg, if only for a week.
Peter Schlesinger is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Photo credit: The Fitzgerald Suite at The Plaza, a Fairmont managed hotel, designed by Catherine Martin
In the past few years, nearly all major hotel brands have phased out their polyester bedspreads in favor of duvets with easy-to-clean covers. Westin, Marriott, and Hilton, along with Four Seasons, Le Méridien, Ritz-Carlton, and St. Regis, all wash duvet covers between each stay. Some hotels simply use sheets to shield you from duvets. Make sure to sleep under the third sheet in these instances.
Photo © Louis Laurent Grandadam/Corbis
For just $34—about 1/23 the cost of a pair of mid-range Jimmy Choos—afternoon tea-goers at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong can feast on high heel-shaped foie gras on brioche, white chocolate filled with lychee and rose in the shape of a leopard-print handbag, and other treats inspired by the famed designer’s Spring/Summer 2013 collection.
Finally, a chance for fashionistas to have their shoes—and eat them, too.
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental
Oftentimes, we as travellers trust big name brands for our accommodations abroad. We believe that if a company has a reputation to uphold, they will provide with timeless and impeccable service. But sometimes, having a mom-and-pop feel to a hotel is what really makes a guestroom feel like your room.
Villa Sagramoso Sacchetti in Verona, for example, is a family-owned, historic villa packed with heirloom antiques, which opened recently in the countryside about ten kilometers from town. The property is the former home of two aristocratic sisters who now run the place and personally welcome guests with fruit juice, drinks and tourist information on arrival.
The sprawling grounds include a small outdoor pool and frescoed reception rooms. A fresh breakfast is provided with local produce in the antiques-packed dining hall. The sisters are again on hand, personally serving breakfast to their guests. Rooms are spacious, affordable, and simple- meaning there are no flat screen televisions or minibars to distract you from Verona’s gorgeous scenery.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of Villa Sagramoso Sacchetti
Better nail down those in-room amenities! Hotels.com has just released the results of a poll it conducted asking 8,500 travelers from 28 different countries what they have stolen from hotel rooms (beyond toiletries, of course). The results are full of surprises.
Danes are apparently the most scrupulous travelers among us. A full 88 percent of them claimed to have not stolen anything from their hotel rooms. Dutch and Norwegians rounded out the honor roll of ethical travelers, with 85 and 84 percent, respectively, taking nothing extra home with them. The most admittedly sticky-fingered travelers in the world: Colombians—57 percent of whom conceded to have taken something from a hotel.
What do people take? Thirty percent of Indian travelers admit to taking books and magazines from their rooms. Seventeen percent of Americans have walked home with linens and towels. Seven percent of Colombian travelers have slipped either a robe or a pillow into their bag. Electronics (!!!) are most popular with Finnish travelers (4 percent), while furnishings—including lamps, clocks, and artwork—go home most frequently with Chinese travelers (13 percent).
Of course, whether the results of this poll reflect the actual thieving tendencies of travelers or their honesty in filling out a survey is unknown. Who knows? Maybe those upstanding Danes are just pulling the wool over our collective eyes.
Photo credit: © 2013 Hotels.com
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