In the season of giving, nothing is more satisfying than knowing your gift is appreciated. Now, Andaz Hotels are ensuring online shoppers that their thoughtful presents will bring smiles near and far with the first-ever Andaz Holiday Bazaar. The boutique hotel group has partnered up with local artists from around the world (think trendsetting cities like New York, London, and Shanghai) to create an eclectic collection of items for purchase on Joyus.com. Not only will your loved one take pride knowing that the hip-hugging Alexander Campaz dress you bought them is one of a kind (seriously—only one was made), but you can take solace that all proceeds from the sale will be donated to Women for Women International (WfWI), a nonprofit organization helping to rebuild the lives of women in war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Rwanda.
Talk about a dream team: renowned German photographer Juergen Teller, London-based author Will Self, and chef Antonio Guida—whose restaurant at Tuscany’s luxurious Hotel Il Pellicano has earned two Michelin stars—have all come together for Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano(Violette Editions). The pink-paged cookbook highlights 11 multi-course menus, each named for a prominent hotel guest of the past and present; think Missoni, Borghese, and Noguchi. Dishes range from surf (roasted lobster with masala, hazelnut oil, and couscous) to turf (suckling pig with celeriac purée and Campari-marinated beetroot) to sweet (beignets with chocolate, gold leaf-wrapped caramel ice cream, and rosemary sauce). But you’ll likely spend more time gawking at the beautiful photographs than you will trying to recreate the recipes in your own kitchen. The chef himself concurs, writing in the intro that they are “too challenging for a home cook without a brigade behind him or her.”
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Early booking specials and last-minute deals are ubiquitous in the travel industry, so we at T+L are always fascinated when someone gets creative with their pricing.
A collection of hotels in Switzerland have done just that with their "Pay What You Want" two-night stay offer before the holidays. Guests pay the normal rate for the first night, and then decide what they'd like to pay for their second night based on the service they receive. And given that each of the 18 participating hotels were voted some of Switzerland's Most Welcoming Hotels in 2013, it's likely their award-winning service will have guests paying full price or more for their second night stays.
With properties scattered everywhere from India to Indonesia, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts has always embraced multiculturalism. And in the United Arab Emirates, crossroads of rampant internationalism, the group’s new Oberoi, Dubai($$$) is one big global romp, including Arabic coffee at check-in and a general United Nations approach to hospitality. Here’s a look at some of the highlights, country by country.
India: On staff at the city’s first 24-hour spa: Priyanka Chowdhury, who won two gold medals for India in the Yoga Olympics. Relax with the shirodhara treatment, a stream of oil on the forehead.
Japan: At the open-kitchen Umai restaurant ($$$$), Takeyuki Nakagawa is one of the few chefs in the U.A.E. certified to prepare fugu, the poisonous puffer fish that’s a Japanese delicacy.
England: Classic British afternoon tea (house-made scones and lemon curd; authentic clotted cream) gets a twist with Asian-inspired pandan eclairs and Turkish halvah.
Czech Republic: The lobby is dominated by two epic chandeliers: created by the Czech firm Lasvit, each is made from more than 100,000 shimmering crystal pieces. Only in Dubai.
Hyatt recently hosted a day-long Twitter chat that it dubbed the “World's Largest Focus Group,” tapping into current travel trends among its clients. Most of the results were not all that surprising—respondents' top wish was for seamless check-in, bypassing the front desk and heading straight to the room.
But by far the most important takeaway regards business travelers' clothing preferences when working from their hotel rooms:
65 percent of women opt for pajamas or workout gear
50 percent of men prefer casual business attire
2.5 percent of both genders forego clothing altogether
Think about that the next time you receive an email from a colleague on a business trip...!
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.
As the the winds pick up and the weather gets chilly, it’s only natural for we northeasterners to daydream about a sunny Florida getaway—and canines are no exception. Ladybird, above, is a fan of Miami’s EPIC Hotel for their “pet-friendly and incredible accommodations, along with the views of Miami and the bay!” And while Ladybird is on the small side (T+L Instagram follower @shmesyca says she’s an Australian Cattle Dog—also known as a Blue Heeler—and Chihuahua mix), all weights, sizes, and breeds of animals are welcomed free of charge at the hotel.
Wes Anderson's upcoming movie, The Grand Budapest Hotel, stars Ralph Fiennes as the concierge of a beautiful 1920s European hotel. While most of this movie was shot at a historic German shopping center, many directors shoot in hotels where you can actually stay. For example, did you know you can stay at the plantation where Interview With a Vampire was shot? Or drink whiskey like Bill Murray's character did at the bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo (pictured above) in Lost in Translation. Check out more famous movie hotels over at Thrillist.
What’s it like to work in a hotel? If you’re a gamer who likes to travel, now you can find out. Radisson is launching the hotel industry’s first mobile game to simulate real-life hotel management, with Rad Hotel by Radisson.
The interactive game challenges players to design hotels and slip into a hotel operator's shoes—you’ll face challenges such as room placement for arriving guests, filling guests requests with efficiency, and expanding the hotel by creating additional rooms.
Juice Press in New York. Pressed Juicery in California. Another day, another juice bar. Over the last year, this all-liquid health food trend has captivated cities across the country—and hotels have been squeezing what they can out of it as well. A few of the latest offerings we’ve come across:
The Hotel Palomar San Francisco—home to the gluten-free mini bar—has teamed up with Pressed Juicery, which recently opened its first San Francisco location. The “Pressed, Pampered & Purified” package includes six daily juices, a cleansing guide, cooler, and complimentary use of bikes. (If eschewing chewing in America’s best food city seems like torture, try drinking them just for breakfast and/or lunch.)
If free Wi-Fi has typically been the exception at luxury hotels, there’s more hope than ever that it will soon be the rule. Case in point: this week, Mandarin Oriental has announced that they will offer free, high-speed Wi-Fi to any guest who books on the mandarinoriental.com website and fills out a guest questionnaire. Why the caveats? The brand is better able to learn about their guests, anticipate their needs, and market to their audience with the help of online profiles, and direct bookings reduce the fees and commissions associated with outside booking vendors. Plus, Mandarin promises to offer the lowest rate on their site—or beat any better deals by a full ten percent. Want the Wi-Fi without the runaround? Try Peninsula, Shangri-La, or Hilton, which recently partnered with AT&T to provide free Internet for many of its guests.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.