Hotels + Resorts
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?
Tinseltown rumor has it that the Hollywood sign, that iconic beacon of glamour, could be cast in a new leading role: that of a luxury hotel.
The fate of the sign, first erected in 1923, has recently been in question as real estate investors who own the adjacent land indicated that they were willing to sell it to developers for building luxury homes. In February, the Trust for Public Land and the Hollywood Sign Trust began an emergency fund-raising campaign to buy the 138 acres and save the sign.
The Los Angeles Daily News recently reported that a Danish architect, Christian Bay-Jorgensen, met with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to propose that a luxury hotel, incorporating the 9-letter sign, be built on the site. His plan calls for each letter to be rebuilt 90 feet tall (twice their current height) and enclose lavish guest rooms with enviable views of the city. The rest of the hotel would be built behind the letters and would, in Bay-Jorgensen’s plan, include public spaces that could serve as locations for awards ceremonies.
Tough times for tourism? Not in Cartagena de Indias. I recently returned from a long weekend in Colombia (currently a "recession-proof country," according to several economic analysts), and while global markets may be floundering and travel numbers down, this sultry Caribbean city is booming with a wave of new boutique hotels, innovative eateries, and ample old-school watering holes. Here's the scoop:
At least a half a dozen gorgeous properties have recently opened downtown (plug: don’t miss T+L’s It List of Best New Hotels in June!). I settled into the 24-suite Anandá Hotel Boutique (pictured below), a quiet retreat in a restored Spanish-colonial building with carved-wood balconies and three breezy roof terraces. The cool, Zen-like calm is a world apart from the bustling street scene just outside its massive wooden doors.
I confess: I’m a fan of The Donald. The swagger, the money, the hair, the catch phrase. My interest in The Apprentice, however, has waned, and I missed the TV show’s introduction of Donald Trump Jr. So, when the opportunity arose to chat up Donald 2.0 about the new hotel he’s overseeing (with his sister and brother)—the Trump SoHo, which opened Friday in New York—I couldn’t resist.
We met in the hotel’s library, a masculinely decked out space with deep chairs, thick tables, and books no one will ever read. Besides being well-coiffed and well-clad, DT Jr. is:
• Confident. (“People said, ‘Isn’t it horrible they changed zoning code because of what you did?’ That’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard.”)
• Affable. (“What drives me? My father calling at 5 a.m. asking why I’m not in the office!”)
• Self-deprecating. (“I’m probably the only graduate of the Wharton School of Finance to move to Colorado to work in a bar.”) Ok, kind of self-deprecating.
Wall Street Journal | LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is checking into the hotel business. The world's largest luxury-goods company, home to brands such as the Louis Vuitton fashion house and champagne maker Veuve Clicquot, said Thursday it will develop resorts using the name of its Bordeaux winery, Cheval Blanc. The company tested the concept with a first location that opened in the French ski resort Courchevel in 2006. Two more hotels are scheduled to join the new chain by 2012 in Oman and Egypt, the company said.
The project is "a natural extension of activities in luxury hospitality with Cheval Blanc," LVMH said in a statement.
Like many top hotel operators, LVMH is limiting its exposure to the volatile hotel industry. It won't own the real estate or finance construction, but will instead run the resorts under management contract, a similar model to other high-end chains such as The Ritz-Carlton. The new LVMH Hotel Management business has six employees.
After spending over an hour on hold waiting for help from the IRS last night, boy could I use a break. Luckily these four hotels are cashing in on tax-season deals (and puns!).
The Kimpton Hotel Group (like T+L favorite Kimpton Palomar Hotel) is offering a Sweet Tax Relief package: The hotel will waive the hotel and restaurant taxes for stays through April 30th. The Hard Rock San Diego has an EFFEN! Taxes package—also expiring April 30th—that not only waives hotel and restaurant fees but also includes an EFFEN! Brand Vodka cocktail (get it?).
Also in the tax-pun-vein, the Trump International Miami is offering a 1040EZ deal through May 30th which features three nights and two massages for $1,040. Lastly, you can save some green at the eco-friendly San Francisco Orchard Hotel group (Orchard Hotel and Orchard Garden Hotel) with their own version of the 1040EZ deal: book by April 15th for a $10.40 discount on hotel rates. Now, if only you could figure out how to write these stays off as a business expense?
Charlotte Savino is the online listings editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo credit: iStock
Those who know me well, realize there’s nothing I like more than a little “wine and bitch” session. That’s why if I had my druthers, this April I’d be high tailing it—along with my dog Max—all the way out to Greenough, Montana for the second annual "Wine & Bitch Weekend" at The Resort at Paws Up.