Hotels + Resorts
Unless you live in a box (or worse, don’t have an Internet connection), you already know that private sale websites are the hottest thing du jour.
In case you hadn’t heard, Travel + Leisure has joined the party and teamed up with Luxury Link to form vacationist, a new by-invitation site offering great values on stays at some of the world’s most stylish and luxurious hotels.
Since its official launch last month, flash sales have included such fabulous properties as The Mark in New York City and Mauna Kua Beach Hotel in Hawaii.
Here’s just a sampling of what’s available right now:
Recently I went to a Toronto tourism event that featured a
honey tasting. My favorite nectar—a luscious caramel-brown with herby mint
notes—belonged to the Fairmont Royal York’s
14-story-high rooftop hives (called the Honey Moon Suite), and is served
to guests at tea service and in specialty cocktails. The mint flavor (someone snootily insisted it was a hint of
“eucalyptus”) comes from the rooftop garden’s herb plots, where the bar gleans much of their greenery for muddled mojitos and
The apiary is a cross-brand initiative with hives already
set up at the Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews
and the Fairmont Waterfront in
Vancouver with more on the way.
Honey—golden, sticky, amber goodness—turns bitter and
looses nutrients during pasteurization. Hotels looking for an eco-luxe draw are
turning to the home-grown raw stuff like, well, bees to honey.
I love baseball. Alas, as a Yankee fan without a major league income, I can rarely afford to see them, or even the Mets, play live. However, we’ve found a way to attend games: we see baseball when we travel to cities where ticket prices are cheaper. We favor urban ballparks because we try to roll other activities into these trips and stadiums tucked into busy downtowns afford fans a crack at museums and restaurants, too. Here are a few of my draft picks:
Washington Post | Hotels want to know who you are. Especially if you're reviewing them anonymously.
An increasing number of image-conscious properties have begun connecting the dots between unbylined write-ups that appear on such popular travel sites as TripAdvisor or Yelp, and your personal information, such as your loyalty program preferences.
If you write a positive review, you might expect a reward from the hotel—a gift basket or a discount on your next stay. Pan a property, and you could get a concerned e-mail from the general manager asking you to reconsider your review. Or even a black mark against you in the chain's guest database.
John Baird, a lodging consultant in Jacksonville, Fla., says that hotels now use locations, dates and usernames that appear online to triangulate a guest's identity. Once they find a likely match, the review is added to a hotel's guest preference records, next to information such as frequent-guest number, newspaper choice and preferred room type.
Travel Pulse | Five of the seven hotels in the Nashville, Tenn., area that were affected by the recent flooding have reopened, according to STR. The seven properties that were closed by the flooding include 3,920 guestrooms, which represent 11 percent of the 35,629 rooms in the metropolitan Nashville market.
Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, which experienced severe damage and remains closed, accounts for 2,881 rooms and 8 percent of the market’s total room inventory. The resort is a major economic driver for the Nashville market, and its closing will have a dramatic effect on the area’s hotel industry.
One can forgive Singapore's new Marina Bay Sands resort complex for opening in stages. If it debuted all at once, it might melt your mind.
The 2,600-room hotel, which had a "soft" opening of 963 rooms on April 27, will feature six celebrity-chef restaurants (including eateries run by Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, and Mario Batali), boat rides through canals interlacing the expansive, 800,000-square-foot Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, two state-of-the-art theaters (The Lion King opens in October) with combined seating for 4,000 souls, a massive casino, and an "artscience" museum built in the shape of a lotus, all housed in an aggressively futuristic multi-structure complex overlooking Singapore's Marina Bay waterfront.
On May 27, Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbes, and Samantha Jones strap on their stilettos, pour a Cosmo (or four), and hit the big screen once again, in Sex and the City 2. This time around, the four friends are vacating the City That Never Sleeps for a weeklong excursion to Abu Dhabi. So what better way to celebrate the film's opening than to do as those jetsetting fashionistas do, and take a trip yourself? I tracked down five SATC-themed packages being offered by hotels around the world, so all that's left for you to do is decide which one is best for you!
Hotel Gansevoort, NYC
You'll get the true SATC experience living it up in the city where just about everything takes place. Enjoy early check-in (2 p.m.), then lounge around poolside sipping on Cosmos for two. Get your shopping on and take advantage of special discounts at select shops, and then hit the town with two VIP passes good for a number of hip NYC clubs. When you leave, don't forget to pack your SATC book and DVD (also included)! Rates start at $545/night. Available until September 6.
New York Times | The airlines have been doing it. Expect the hotels to follow suit. Over the last few years, the airlines have been adding and increasing fees on checked bags, exit row seats and more, much to the benefit of their bottom lines. And for similar reasons, hotels are likely to add more fees and more stringently enforce or even raise existing charges for cutting a stay short, for example, or for storing luggage.
A new study by Bjorn Hanson, clinical professor at the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality Tourism and Sports Management at New York University, found that while total fees and surcharges collected by hotels in the United States declined to $1.55 billion in last year’s faltering economy, they will rise this year. Mr. Hanson said he expected hotel surcharges to climb back up to $1.7 billion this year as a result of an expected rise of 3 to 4 percent in occupied hotel rooms, broader adoption of fees and more aggressive enforcement of and increases in existing fees.
The fees and surcharges were initially charged by high-end hotel brands in the late 1990s for access to resort amenities like the swimming pool, putting greens and tennis courts.
Downtown Los Angeles has transformed from one of L.A.’s “whatever” neighborhoods to a must-do that’s on everyone’s list. With the recent opening of the brand new JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels and an influx of hot restaurants in the surrounding blocks, the area is set for visitors to do more than just park and beeline to the Staples Center for a concert or sporting event, it’s now a place you want to get to early, stay all day, and maybe even spend the night.
I recently returned from a weeklong trip to Miami Beach with my good friend Peter. He turned out to be the perfect travel buddy because, like me, we had two plans for the trip: lots of beach time and lots of good food.
We checked into the recently renovated Palms Hotel & Spa on Collins and instantly fell in love. The view from our seventh floor Oceanfront room was amazing; I did not grow the least bit weary of waking up to it. Though if you want to splurge and really get the full Oceanfront experience, I'd suggest booking one of the top-floor suites, which are bigger, with hardwood floors and balconies. Otherwise, the Oceanfront is truly the only choice. How could you be that close and not opt to see the sea at all times??
I'm sure you can find the beach, so let's get to the food part, shall we?