By covering more than 4,600 hotels, IHG is certainly the largest company to make such a commitment to its loyalists of all ranks. And the IHG twist: you won’t need to be a guest of the hotel to access the internet. The service will be available free of charge even to loyalty-program members who just pop into the lobby.
Q: Is the “service charge” on my room-service bill the same as a gratuity?
A: Though the exact definition varies from hotel to hotel, service charge usually indicates a pooled tip, to be divided up by the entire room service department. If your specific attendant was particularly good, you may consider giving an extra gratuity—but are in no way obliged to do so. To be sure, ask what the hotel’s policy is when placing your order.
If you are planning on skiing the slopes of Switzerland this winter, check into Brucke 49, a chic bed & breakfast in the Alpine village of Vals. The lodge is famed for its Peter Zumthor-designed thermal spa. Run by a young couple, the B&B opened in December 2011 in a grey-and-white 1902 villa on the riverbank.
The four rooms of Brucke 49 mix Danish designer furnishings by the likes of Arne Jacobsen, Shaker elements and William Morris wallpaper. The ambience is design-led yet cozy and informal- sounds a little like home, doesn’t it? And just like home, some of the bathrooms are shared. Stay here for an affordable, personal experience in a chic European village.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
On a calm beach, a big wave can knock you off your feet—and even act as a thief, as one resort guest recently learned.
Brittania Fisher and her husband were vacationing earlier this month at Miami’s Turnberry Isle Miami, and on their last day there, Brittania was wading in shallow water and picking up shells on the private beach. Suddenly, a big wave surprised her, and knocked her over. "I clenched my left hand because the water was cold, and I knew it would make my fingers shrink," the Dallas native told us. "But my rings were already gone."
She immediately enlisted other people on the beach to help her look, and hotel staffers are still looking—but so far, with no results.
Turnberry's staffers, it should be noted, have recovered lost rings in the past. In 2002, Heather Mills, former wife of Paul McCartney, "lost" one hers when she was staying with the music legend at the resort. "Apparently they had a big row in our Grand Presidential Suite, and in their fight she threw her engagement ring off the balcony," Rachel Pinzur, the resort's public relations director, told NBC Miami. A determined hotel employee found it in the bushes with the help of a flashlight.
The shoreline may pose greater challenges, but Fisher says that she is hopeful that her two rings—both platinum, and soldered together—are heavy enough to have sunk into the sand, rather than be sucked out to sea. (See picture: above.) She recently posted on the resort's Facebook page asking guests to keep looking, and is offering a $2,000 reward for their return.
“There's a dollar amount on the rings, of course, but I can't replace them," Fisher told us. “The engagement ring was what my husband had when he got down on one knee, and he slipped the band on my hand on our wedding day. They're priceless." She's willing to be patient, too. "You always hear stories about people being reunited with items after a long time, so I'll believe in miracles."
After ascending the Eiffel Tower and walking miles through the Louvre, a spa day in Paris is in perfect order. The following spas in the City of Light help relieve any sightseeing aches:
• Hôtel Le Meurice has completely rebuilt its spa to allow a generous flow of natural light. Expansions include a couple’s suite, new manicure and pedicure stations, and terrace for the ultimate pampering experience.
• Shangri-La hotel recently added a 15x16m indoor swimming pool to its spa and fitness facility, as well as two treatment rooms for massages, facials, and body treatments.
If you are looking for the cherry-on-top to your relaxing spa day, consider slumbering in the penthouse suite at Four Seasons Hotel George V. The grand suite got a revamp this summer with a mix of pale sand and apricot colors, traditional fabrics, and eclectic, antique knick-knacks. Six terraces offer 360-degree views and 160-square-feet means an oasis of open, tranquil space to make you sigh, Ah, Pari!
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
These cozy dwellings with rice-paper walls and plush futons on heated stone floors—Korea’s answer to Japanese ryokan—have been frequented by non-Westerners for years. Now more upscale offerings are luring foreigners, with many popping up in Seoul’s 600-year-old Bukchon district. Some even host kimchi-making or dado (tea ceremony) classes. Chiwoonjung($$$$)—a house once rented by President Lee Myung-Bak—has been reborn as an inn with four simple, antique-filled rooms. Kundaemunjip($) mixes traditional architecture with modern touches (rain showers; frosted glass). At Rakkojae($$), one of the most revered hanok, the intricate sliding doors are by master carpenter Chung Young-Jin.
Hotel Pricing Key $Less than $200 $$$200 to $350 $$$$350 to $500 $$$$$500 to $1,000 $$$$$More than $1,000
If you're prone to downloading the entire seasons of Breaking Bad onto your iPad before a trip, this will be welcome news: Aloft, Starwood's intrepidly tech-savvy brand, is testing the in-room entertainment system of tomorrow, with Apple TV as its anchor.
In every Aloft room, you'll find a Jack Pack, which plugs into your laptop or mobile devices and projects the content onto your in-room HDTV. Now with AppleTV, guests can use their TV in a huge variety of ways: As a stereo system for music, a medium for editing photos, or perhaps most useful, a big screen for streaming Netflix or iTunes movies.
My three-year-old architect uses Legos to build "crazy towers," so I'm used to them reaching three-, four-, even five-feet in height. But now Legoland has built a true to scale version in Carlsbad, Calfornia that functions as an actual hotel. It opens April 15, and it might be incredibly cool—or incredibly weird.
On February 10th, “We Found Love” earned R&B superstar Rihanna her sixth Grammy, this time for best short form music video. That’s nice, but the songstress has another video that T+L readers may find even nicer. It’s a tourism promotional video for Barbados, Rihanna’s home country, and one of the Caribbean’s top destinations.
Check it out:
Okay, so now that we all officially want to go to Barbados but know nothing about it, T+L can help. Here are some things the video didn’t tell us that make a visit to this Caribbean isle more enticing: