Hotels + Resorts
The best hotels have human fingerprints.
I don’t need to like the person’s style, but I want to feel their presence and a sense of place. The Grand Hôtel Nord-Pinus, in Arles, France, is so French, but it also has a strong Spanish influence that reflects the owner’s quirky taste: a vintage bar and furniture mixed with bullfighting memorabilia and Peter Lindbergh photographs. At the Saint Cecilia, in Austin, Texas, you feel Liz Lambert’s heartbeat throughout the hotel. The mini-bar, for example, has personal choices such as salted-caramel galettes, prosciutto, and Mexican Coke.
Las Vegas’s old Sahara Resort is being reborn as the SLS, a three-tower, Gensler-designed property on the north part of the Strip. Like its Miami counterpart, hotelier Sam Nazarian tasked Philippe Starck with creating a vision for the interiors, giving each of the buildings a distinctive look and feel.
Most hotels discard leftover amenities, which is good for hygiene, but not so much for the environment. Today, an increasing number of properties worldwide donate their extra products for recycling and reuse, thanks to nonprofits such as Clean the World. Since 2009, the organization has collected and sterilized more than 17 million bars of soap and 325,000 gallons of shampoo and conditioner and distributed them to those in need—eliminating hundreds of tons of waste in the process.
Melanie Lieberman is the Editorial Projects Assistant and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites.
In June, Marriott International launched its #LoveTravels campaign, encouraging LGBT travelers to feel at ease while staying with Marriott brands during their travels. Today, the company announced that it is broadening the message to individuals of any orientation, with an expanded lineup of celebrity endorsements such as soccer star Tim Howard and fashion maven Angela Simmons.
This is about Italy’s secret coast—the other Sardinia. Not the Sardinia of the Aga Khan, yachts, celebrities, oligarchs, and tycoons. Not, in other words, Porto Rotondo, where Italy’s Caviar Left came every summer to populate a brand-new colony built to its high-flying specifications. That vociferous, in-your-face Sardinia reminds me of the film Swept Away, whose director, Lina Wertmüller, was inspired by my aunt, the designer Mariuccia Mandelli, who founded Krizia; her even more formidable sister Giancarla; and their court of influential intellectuals and entrepreneurs. Lying topless in the sun—it was part of the liberation of forceful women nurtured in a traditional society—they conducted lively conversations, mostly about politics, that anyone might have mistaken for fights and that resounded across the wild Mediterranean maquis.
Aloft Hotels announced its latest hire today: a robot butler named A.L.O. who is now serving guests at the brand’s Cupertino location.
The first major hotel company to introduce a robot for front-of-house service, Aloft plans on using A.L.O. to help (human) staff around the clock, fulfilling chores such as delivering guest amenities and transporting bedding, towels, and other linens between laundry- and guest-rooms. The robot uses internal navigational software to find its way around the hotel and communicates via on-screen prompts.
If the words "The Catskills" still conjure images of Milton Berle and Henny Youngman trading one-liners—or Jennifer Grey carrying a watermelon across a sweaty dance floor—you haven't been here in a while. While most of the Dirty Dancing–era bungalow colonies and Borscht Belt resorts are gone, a new generation of young innkeepers are opening up shop, luring New York City weekenders eager for a taste of country life.
Last winter, we loved Switzerland’s creative “pay what you want” hotel initiative—and for three weeks this summer, Paris is following in its neighbor’s footsteps. Now through August 10—peak high season—five Right Bank hotels in the City of Light are letting guests spend the night and then decide what they think their experience is worth.
It’s pretty much indisputable that airlines are making frequent flyer miles harder to use. Across the board, we’ve seen programs increase the amount of miles needed for awards—all while restricting the amount of seats available at the lowest level and adding new fees. However, it isn’t all doomsday. Luckily, credit card bonuses are extremely lucrative and there are now more ways to earn miles than ever before. Whether from online shopping or dining out, you should be getting miles for almost every purchase.
Hilton is taking a page out of the airline handbook. This week, the hotel giant announced a plan to open room selection for members of the brand’s HHonors loyalty program—for the first time ever, this would allow guests to review floor plans of open rooms and pick their favorite before check-in. Roll-out is expected for over 650,000 rooms at 4,000 hotels across the Hilton portfolio—including its Waldorf Astoria and Conrad brands—by the end of the year, with limited availability piloting by the end of the summer.