Hotels + Resorts
There’s a noteworthy new spot worth considering for your next weekend getaway. The Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, set on a bluff above Palm Springs and California’s Coachella Valley, has thrown open its doors again today after a seven-year closure (you can thank the financial crisis for the delayed debut).
Social media engagement has become increasingly valuable to hotel brands and travel companies—look no further than our own SMITTY Award winners—but today, Marriott is becoming the first company to place a real dollar value on customers’ tweets, check-ins, and likes. With PlusPoints, a new feature of the brand’s much loved rewards program, visitors who download the Marriott Rewards app and synch their social media accounts will now see their points balances increase with every digital interaction—up to 2,000 points each month. Says Rich Toohey, VP of Marriott Rewards, “It’s a way to provide immediate gratification for our members, who happy to be very active on social media channels.” Immediate is right: most interactions (geo-tagged Instagram pics; Facebook comments; check-ins and tweets) will yield an automatic deposited of 25 points to your Marriott Rewards account, while one-time activities, such as liking a property page on Facebook, will boost your balance by 250 points.
Long before he agreed to take over as host of the Late Show, Stephen Colbert was just another Charleston boy—swimming, fishing, and skateboarding down the quiet streets of what he recalls as a “sleepy Southern town.” Today, the South Carolina city is still one of his favorite vacation spots. Read on for Colbert’s down-home haunts.
Stay: Growing up, Colbert helped his mother run a now-defunct B&B in their house in the South of Broad neighborhood. “Back then, if I booked a guest, I got ten percent. A kid could have a whole weekend of fun on fifteen bucks.” Hotels he remembers from boyhood: the Francis Marion Hotel ($)—with views of the harbor—and 1853’s Mills House Wyndham Grand Hotel ($).
After Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks landed on an unspoiled corner of Colorado’s red-rock country to call his own, he just couldn’t keep the secret. His sprawling family retreat became Gateway Canyons Resort, made up of two lodges and 14 luxurious casitas. It’s also where Hendricks hosts TED Talk–like, five-night Curiosity Retreats, where activities are led by special guests such as violinist Charles Yang and Master Sommelier Larry Stone. We spoke to Hendricks about his love for the land, his new role as innkeeper, and more.
The 127-year-old Grand Hotel opens for the 2014 season this weekend, but Lake Huron’s winter hasn’t quite given up. So far, thick ice has kept the ferries from making regular trips across the Straits of Mackinac and the hotel is encouraging guests to fly over instead. (This sunny shot promises summer ahead, though!)
See the Grand in America’s Best All-Inclusive Resorts
Editor’s Picks: Michigan
World’s Most Beautiful Ferry Rides
World’s Scariest Bridges
America’s Best Beach Boardwalks
Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.
Photo courtesy of the Grand Hotel
Given the rate of their output, if Le Fooding, the indispensable French restaurant guide, has been taking long French-style vacations, well, they’re obviously burning the midnight oil during the rest of the year. Since launching in 2000 as an insert, the annual publication has rolled out traveling food festivals and star chef pop-ups, which have steadily picked up steam, especially in the past three years.
Germany: 44% off at the Althoff Seehotel Überfahrt
Bavarian Luxury package includes:
• 2 nights in a Deluxe room at the Althoff Seehotel Überfahrt, a 135-year-old resort on the banks of the Tegernsee, near Munich
• Round-trip transportation to the Tegernsee Forest Festival, a traditional summerlong Alpine celebration with beer, bratwurst, and live music, or to the Tegernseer Bräustüber, an ancient monastery that brewed the region’s first beer
• An hour-long carriage ride through the Bavarian Alpine landscape, with beer and pretzels
• A 3-course dinner at a choice of 3 on-site restaurants, including Egerner Bucht, a specialist in Alpine cuisine
Cost: $1,080 ($540 per night)
Book now for travel between June 20 and September 7.
For more information or to book, please visit Althoff Seehotel Überfahrt.
You could spend an entire month doing nothing but comparing hotel loyalty programs and still not be sure you know which is best—but that’s why it never hurts to turn to the pros. And while we make the topic a professional obsession around here, there are a few specialists out there that even we revere. Among them: Scott Mackenzie of Hack My Trip, who just recently released these incredible tables that break down all that hotel loyalty programs have to offer. It’s one of the most comprehensive, thoughtfully analyzed resources we’ve seen to date, so take it from us: this one is worth bookmarking.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Image courtesy of Scott Mackenzie
Biarritz is the classic European beach vacation, newly reinvented as a laid-back, surfer-bohemian hot spot.
I met a lot of people from Paris in Biarritz, and they all said the same thing. They were refugees. They were here because life in Paris was relentless, all business, too fast. But here was the ocean, and surfing, a resort town, a community. And yes, that could be said of many places but this one was different. This was not the Côte d’Azur. There were no mega-yachts floating in the harbor here, and there were no private beach clubs or trendy nightclubs or Lamborghinis stuck in traffic like you see in Cannes and St.-Tropez. This stretch of the Atlantic coast in the southwest of France—La Côte Basque—was a less polished place, a little wild, a little young. The landscape was stunning and the ocean was vast and powerful (hence all the surfers) and the general attitude was low-key bohemian.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a… flying hotel? Come February 2015, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts will extend its hospitality into the skies and launch its very own branded private aircraft—the first of its kind in the industry. And we’re not talking about a tiny Learjet—this is a Boeing 757 with custom-designed interiors, 52 handcrafted leather flatbed seats, and Four Seasons-worthy onboard dining.