Between his Craft restaurants and his role as head judge on Top Chef, Tom Colicchio is one of the food world’s biggest stars. Now he has a new title: innkeeper. At Topping Rose House, an 1842 Greek Revival mansion in Bridgehampton, New York, he oversees 22 rooms and cottages with interiors by Alexandra Champalimaud. The food, of course, takes center stage, and the locavore menu reinforces Colicchio’s passion for fresh and sustainable ingredients. His inspiration? European country inns with restaurants: “It’s all an extension of hospitality. We want this to be the place where once you’re here, it’s a warm embrace.” $$$$
What’s the easiest way to get the most out of your next hotel room? Extend your stay by arriving early and checking out late. Fortunately, hotels are making it easier for you to hold onto that room key as long as possible.
If you’re angling for an early arrival, some properties will let you pay for the privilege. For $30, you can check in as early as 9 a.m. at Aria and the Bellagio, in Las Vegas. Guests at the Peninsula Beverly Hills get their room whenever they like and stay as late as they please—even if it’s more than 24 hours later—just by calling in advance. Similarly, Starwood’s most loyal guests (those who log 75 nights a year) can check in at any time and keep the room for a full 24 hours. Top-tier members of the GHA Discovery Program (which includes Omni Hotels and Kempinski Hotels) are rewarded with a 9 a.m. check-in when available. Even if you don’t have elite status, it never hurts to ask. Phone ahead with a polite request and you may be accommodated.
Hotel ZaZa, a Texas mini-chain of boutique hotels, retains a fleet of vehicles available to guests at their Dallas and Houston properties. The kooky lineup includes an art car, a hearse, a car with Texas longhorns mounted on the grill, and a police cruiser.
If you want to make a dramatic entrance, the ZaZas will squire you there in idiosyncratic style. No one will forget your name after you pull up to a trade show in a hearse.
Why settle for a plain old limo when you could join the ever-growing list of former teen stars slumping in the backseats of patrol cars?
Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure.
For those who make a habit of frequenting the concierge desk before a day on the town, there’s a new way to tap into the local scene—no fold-out map necessary. These four hotel brands are putting the concierge in your pocket. What could be more convenient?
Conrad This all-in-one concierge app handles wake-up calls, dinner reservations, valet parking, bath amenities, and even check-in. Android, iPad, iPhone.
Hyatt When you use the tag @hyattconcierge on Twitter, you will get a response from a concierge within 15 minutes.
InterContinental Concierges from each of InterContinental’s 127 destinations package their little black books for your smartphone in an app that has tips on where to shop, what to eat, and what to pack. iPad, iPhone.
Ritz-Carlton Along with location-based suggestions for sites and activities, this app includes QR codes that unlock anything from cocktail recipes to kid-friendly scavenger hunts. Android, iPhone.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Our informal poll of luxury hotels found that taking one set of toiletries a day is generally acceptable—even expected. (They know us well.) But don’t be surprised if the hotel—especially a mid- or lower-tier property—cuts you off during a longer stay. if that happens, you’ll just have to dig some of that shampoo back out of your suitcase.
17: The percentage of U.S. hotel guests who admit to taking linens and towels from their rooms in a Hotels.com survey.
The 1,980-room hotel, New York City's largest, isn't the first hotel to discontinue that amenity, but it's probably the biggest. It's all part of a lodging industry trend to cut the frills and concentrate on basic service—a trend that the airlines pioneered with the introduction of controversial fees.
Around the nation and across the globe, hotels are curtailing such extras as business centers, minibars, bellhops, doormen and even traditional front desks for checking in. Yotel New York in Midtown Manhattan, for instance, asks guests to check themselves in at kiosks in the hotel's "Ground Control." And if their rooms aren't ready, Yotel's guests check their suitcases with a robotic baggage storage system.
Two historic European buildings are being reborn as luxury hotels. Which becomes a legend most?
Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna Auspicious Origins: A hotel built for the 1873 World Exhibition. Humdrum Later Tenants: Police HQ (1875 to 1945) and Health Department (1941 to 1997). Surprise Visitors: Ladies of the evening, who frequented the Health Department for checkups. Design Flourishes: New custom bird’s-eye-maple furniture gives the neo-Renaissance building some Art Deco flair. Best View: Roomy third-floor balconies overlook the chestnut trees on the Ringstrasse. Ask the Concierge To... Arrange a tour of hidden vineyards within the city. Vital Statistics: 152 rooms; opened March 2013. $$$
A: Good question. And one you should ask of your hotel, too. Resort fees, which can add a full 30 percent onto a hotel bill, may cover everything from wireless Internet and gym access to faxing and use of a notary (huh?)—services and amenities that you may have no interest in using. Yet travelers who kick and scream about baggage fees are often surprisingly mute when it comes to these hotel charges. The difference? In the case of baggage, you’re at least paying for a service that you intend to use.
Hot-ticket restaurants? Check. Ultra-luxe bedding? Check. The latest battleground in the hotel wars: flower shops run by star petal-pushers. Guests at the Hotel Savoy($$$$), in Florence, can jazz up their rooms with Sebastian Bierings’s modernist “sushi flower” arrangements (Lady Gaga and Elton John are fans). New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel($$$$) recently welcomed a branch of the 100-year-old Gramercy Park Flower Shop, whose monochromatic, leaf-wrapped bouquets make perfect hostess gifts. In Menlo Park, California, Aili Ice has opened her first brick-and-mortar location at Rosewood Sand Hill($$$$), showcasing designs that incorporate reclaimed wood. No wonder she’s the go-to florist of Silicon Valley VIP’s.
It’s hard to believe that just a year and a half ago, Mama Shelter was a lone boutique hotel in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, serving up Philippe Starck design, in-room iMacs and high thread count sheets for travelers on a hostel budget. But the Trigano family, who previously set up a little company you may have heard of called Club Med, doesn’t play small.
Now Mama has touched down in Marseille (April, 2012), Istanbul (mid-March, 2013), Lyon (late March, 2013), Bordeaux (October 2013) and eventually Hollywood. Serge Trigano, Mama Shelter’s co-founder with the poet and urban theorist Cyril Aouizerate, made a bet that city tourism would be to the 21stcentury what beach tourism was to the previous one, and with occupancy rates ranging from 85% in Paris to 70% in Marseille, his bet is paying off.