Booking a hotel these days can be overwhelming: new names are appearing alongside established ones, and they’re competing for your attention, your dollars, and, above all, your loyalty. T+L has the scoop on the latest trends to help you find the one that’s right for you.
Hotel Brand Trends
A closer look at the innovations that will shape your next hotel stay.
Tech-Friendly Retreats: Starwood’s Aloft is piloting Apple TV’s at its Cupertino, California, property and will soon offer remote mobile check-in at dozens of its hotels. Not to be outdone, Conrad is raising the bar with its Conrad Concierge app, which lets guests book hotel services remotely, be it airport pickup or the timing of their dinner. Mandarin Oriental will soon be rolling out DVR’s and HD Internet TV’s in its guest rooms. Peninsula, meanwhile, remains unmatched for its customized in-room tablets, introduced at the Hong Kong flagship, with everything from temperature controls to flight schedules.
Q: We are hotel-hopping through europe and we want to be prepared for mixed weather. any suggestions for lightweight outerwear? —Julia Stuopelis, via e-mail
A: Your best option for a fickle forecast: gear that packs into a pocket or pouch (see video below). Here, easy-to-stash coats and boots that offer protection from the elements or can be tossed into a tote or backpack during bouts of sunshine. Clockwise from left:
Q: I take a lot of business trips. what pieces travel best? —Janet Dewitt, Highland Park, Tex.
A: For a classic shape, we love the wrinkle-free shirtdress (pictured; $330) from Elizabeth Roberts—the fabric is nylon, so it’s lightweight, dries fast, and is virtually indestructible. Knits tend to stay wrinkle-free— this knee-length skirt ($445) and top ($195) by Wolford will take you through all manner of meetings. A sheath is fitting for day-to-night negotiations; roll up the cherry-red stretch version ($415) from David Meister for extra packability.
Plus: Our Secret Weapons
Roll-on fragrances are ideal for your carry-on. Try Elizabeth and James’s Nirvana Black ($22), with sandalwood and vanilla; Kate Spade’s citrusy Live Colorfully Eau de Parfum ($24); fresh and woody Marchesa Parfum D’Extase ($25); or Tory Burch’s namesake scent ($25).
The Esteam by Jiffy Steamer ($75)is the T+L style department’s de-wrinkler of choice. The best part? It heats up in less than two minutes.
Whether you are traveling by plane, train or automobile, the key to tranquil trekking is all about doing the prep work. When traveling, spontaneity often yields a nightmare scenario. To reduce frustration and tantrums, parents must anticipate and be prepared for common in-transit issues: delays, hunger, bumps, bruises and illness and, of course, bad behavior. Here are my 6 top tips for reducing stress while traveling with the family:
1.Snacks on the go. Don’t wait until the kids get hungry and cranky. Pack an array of snacks and meals for the trip. Always plan for delays and bring a few extra nibbles.
2. Keep them busy. Bring a cross section of easy-to-transport toys, books, workbooks, gadgets and activities to engage them through the hours of travel.
Looking to score a deal on a great hotel? These digital tips and tricks from T+L will ensure you get the best price in the house.
Know the Market
Timing is key. The Web-based price predictor feature on TheSuitest forecasts how room prices are expected to fluctuate for the next month—use it to find the right time to buy in any market. Then cross-check with DealAngel and Bing's Hotel Rate Indicator—both compare quoted rates with a hotel’s average cost, telling you which deals are really worthwhile.
There’s a long tradition throughout Europe of statutes requiring hotels to collect information on guests—including name, nationality, and ID number—enabling law enforcement to cross-check for wanted individuals, criminals, or missing persons. The European Union has since made such data collection a requirement for hotels in member states. Most of this information is simply stored to be made available to authorities upon request, though in certain areas (notably Italy), it is regularly collected. In the past, some hotels would hold guests’ passports for hours or even overnight to manually complete the registration process. Today, you usually just have to show it at check-in.
A: Animal lovers take note: there is a cruise that accepts your pets. Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 takes up to 12 dogs and cats on certain transatlantic crossings (from $300). Pets are housed in a special kennel area, which includes outdoor space, a full-time kennel master, and ample visiting hours. The main reasons other cruise lines don’t allow animals on board: hygiene—ships have strict sanitation codes—and port regulations. Each country has its own entry requirements for animals, so navigating multiple-country cruises would be a headache for ships and pet owners alike.