Hotels + Resorts
Booking a hotel these days can be overwhelming: new names are appearing alongside established ones, and they’re competing for your attention, your dollars, and, above all, your loyalty. T+L has the scoop on the latest trends to help you find the one that’s right for you.
Hotel Brand Trends
A closer look at the innovations that will shape your next hotel stay.
Tech-Friendly Retreats: Starwood’s Aloft is piloting Apple TV’s at its Cupertino, California, property and will soon offer remote mobile check-in at dozens of its hotels. Not to be outdone, Conrad is raising the bar with its Conrad Concierge app, which lets guests book hotel services remotely, be it airport pickup or the timing of their dinner. Mandarin Oriental will soon be rolling out DVR’s and HD Internet TV’s in its guest rooms. Peninsula, meanwhile, remains unmatched for its customized in-room tablets, introduced at the Hong Kong flagship, with everything from temperature controls to flight schedules.
Weary of the unpredictability that comes with a last-minute vacation booking? You’re not alone. But HotelTonight, the always pioneering app for travel procrastinators, is coming to the rescue with a new feature called Look Ahead, intended to facilitate so-called “planned spontaneity.”
Debuting in a handful of the app’s major cities—New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and half a dozen others, with many more rolling out soon—the feature will offer a seven-day estimate of inventory and prices in a particular market, using a proprietary algorithm that factors in local events, weather, and historical data from HotelTonight and other booking engines.
We’ve already introduced you to Baha Mar, the massive-scale resort that’s set to reinvigorate the Bahamian Riviera later this year. But if the $3.5-billion, five-brand hotel and casino has you thinking Vegas, think again: despite being the biggest destination project in the western hemisphere, Baha Mar is surprisingly tapped in to the island’s cultural and natural assets. Here, a by the numbers look:
• 34: the number of football fields it would take to hold all the sand that’s been brought in to re-nourish the beach at Baha Mar.
When it comes to hotel gratuities, even the most seasoned travelers admit to being stumped. That’s why we’ve put together this handy cheat sheet below, which you can take with you the next time you’re on the road.
Bellman: $1 to $2 per bag.
Concierge: $10 to $20 for performing a special service, such as scoring tickets to a sold-out event or wrangling lost luggage from your airline.
Doorman: $2 for hailing a cab in rush hour or in the rain; $1 for each bag.
Housekeeping: $5 to $10 per day. Leave it at the front desk if you want it divided equally among all your housekeepers.
Room Service: A service charge is almost always included in the bill. To personally thank your server, 5 percent will suffice.
Valet: $5 when your car is delivered.
Free Town-Car Service: Because they’re providing a complimentary amenity, drivers are instructed not to expect tips. However, it’s not uncommon for travelers to offer a gratuity. The minimum starts around $5 and goes up as the distance increases. While chauffeurs are generally making above-market wages, they still appreciate being recognized for going the extra mile—literally.
Note: Gratuities are often lower or not expected outside North America. Follow
local tipping customs when traveling overseas.
Jennifer Flowers is the Travel News Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.
Photo credit: Bernd Vogel / Corbis
Bagan, an ancient city in Myanmar with thousands of Buddhist temples and stupas dotting the landscape—and a place that I was lucky enough to visit last December—has put a halt on new hotels while the government applies for UNESCO World Heritage status.
Just back from the African country’s dramatic sand dunes and wildlife-filled reserves, T+L deputy editor Laura Begley Bloom shares a few of her favorite finds.
Most Memorable Sundowner: Here I am, having an end-of-day drink while at Okahirongo Elephant Lodge ($$$$), in the Kaokoveld—known for its rare desert elephants and black rhinos.
The Sands of Sossusvlei: Full disclosure: I didn’t quite make it to the top of Dune 45. We stayed nearby at Little Kulala ($$$$$), where I coveted the ostrich eggshell chandeliers, below, and bought this recycled glass necklace.
Local Souvenir: Wood-and-seed earrings from Okahirongo, where I also got the best wakeup call on the trip: an elephant purring just outside my window.
Top View: Watching animals gather around the watering hole at Onguma The Fort ($$$), a hotel near Etosha National Park.
Bringing a decidedly luxurious edge to an educational travel package, Belmond Charleston Place is offering a midweek stay that includes a lesson in plastering, an art revered in a town that values historic preservation.
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Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.
Photo: Peter Frank Edwards
Why stop at Nespresso machines and turndown chocolates? When it comes to services and perks, some brands are taking things to the next level. Here, a few of our favorites.
Before: The hotel umbrella
After: Burberry trenches in every suite
Seen At: Maybourne Hotel Group
Before: Welcome wishbones
After: Puppies as concierges
Seen At: Kimpton
The Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi—six-time World's Best Award-winner and perennial Santa Fe favorite—is debuting a new look this week after a total renovation of the guestrooms.
Designed by the same firm that built the Inn's interiors 22 years ago, the rooms now boast brighter, earth-toned walls and local terracota ceramics. Bathrooms, previously done up in green, have quartz counters and white porcelain tiles. Not everything is new, however. the kiva-style gas fireplaces located in each of the property's 58 rooms? Thankfully, they are staying.
Napa Valley Wine tastings. A Provençal cooking class. Dinner from a celebrity chef in Mexico. This month’s exclusive deals are guaranteed to make you hungry.
Hamptons: 35% off Greek Revival manor house
Customized Culinary Experience tour includes:
• 2 nights' accommodations in a king room at Topping Rose House (pictured) in the Hamptons, a Greek Revival manor house with 4 ultramodern cottages and a Tom Colicchio restaurant
• Scour the property’s farm to create a dinner menu suited to your tastes
Cost: $1,000 ($500 per night)
Book now for travel through May 31.
For more information or to book, please visit Topping Rose House.