Wednesday December 4, 2013
Call them the anti-B'n B's. Design hotels elevate your vacation or business trip to a purely aesthetic experience that often has nothing to do with the scenery outside and is more about the furnishings, shapes, surfaces and light soothing your senses in a hotel's guest rooms and public spaces. And the go-to website for finding a design hotel everywhere from Berlin and Barcelona to Belize has long been the eponymous DesignHotels.com. The website recently announced seven fabulous new member hotels. And if you're looking for sophistication vacation inspiration, just click here:
Chateau de la Resle in Burgundy, France
Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel in Iceland
The Majlis Resort on the island of Lamu in Kenya
Miura Hotel in the Czech Republic
El Secreto in Belize
Hotel Gallery69 in Poland
Hotel Cort on the island of Mallorca in Spain
PHOTO CREDIT: Terry Ward, East Hotel in Hamburg, Germany
Monday December 2, 2013
Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Oh yes, the festive (shopping!) season is upon us. And if, like me, you prefer to spend your money on travel experiences rather than most things material, you won't want to miss this Cyber Monday travel deal good for 20 to 40 percent off stays at participating Starwood properties in North American and Latin America. You have till this Friday, Dec. 6, to book your room. But the dates of your stay can be anytime from now through Jan. 26, 2014 at participating hotels like the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina (from $95 per night) and through April 17, 2014 at participating resorts such as the Sheraton Kauai Resort (from $169 per night). After all, what better antidote to holiday stress (or what better present to put under the tree, for that matter?) than a hotel stay somewhere spectacular!
Wednesday November 27, 2013
Boy, do I love a good idea (and when it relates to the hotel business, you can bet I end up kicking myself all the more that I didn't think of it first!). New travel start-up Roomer has come up with a genius concept whereby travelers who've booked non-refundable hotel stays but are unable to use them can sell their room to someone else at a reduced rate. And if you're looking for a last-minute hotel room deal, this website is definitely worth a browse before hitting up your usual hotel search engines.
During a recent search for a last-minute hotel room in Orlando, I found someone offering their non-refundable room at the Rosen Centre Hotel on International Drive for $55 per night (versus the hotel website's $199 per night rate for stays on the same date). And at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, I spotted an offer for a late-November stay for $116 per night on Roomer. In addition to snagging deals here, keep in mind that you can also try to offload your own non-refundable hotel room bookings in case you have to cancel your travels on a dime. All the details on how things work for hotel room buyers and sellers can be found on the website's FAQ page. And while Roomer only currently deals in US hotel stays, I like where this is headed...
Talk about smarter travel!
Monday November 25, 2013
Some families relish the together time in the kitchen. The poring over old family recipes, the preparation - even the shopping trips to get everything on the list. But if you ask me, I'd just as soon leave the cooking to someone else and maximize the time watching football and generally hanging out without worrying if something's burning on the stove. If you're of a similar ilk, here are a few hotels around the country that are happy to let you lounge on the couch and leave the cooking to them:
- Dallas folks can hit up the Omni Forth Worth Hotel to pick up an entire Thanksgiving dinner to go, with options to serve up to eight or 12 people. In addition to the bird, the menu includes things like pecan pie, giblet gravy and stuffing spiked with pancetta, chestnuts, corn and cheese.
- For a luxe Turkey Day dinner in New York City, book the five-course Prestige Menu at The London NYC. For $195 per person, the menu includes options like foie gras, Arctic char, roasted Colorado lamb and diver scallops. And there's a less expensive vegetarian menu, too.
- Also in New York, considering booking a Thanksgiving package at Langham Place, Fifth Avenue that includes a stay in the fab residence suites (I recently checked in and love them!), a traditional Thanksgiving dinner served in your suite, continental breakfast the next morning and more from $1,295.
- And hey, here's an idea - fill up earlier in the day (all the more time for football!) by scheduling a Thanksgiving Brunch with the family at the Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa in California. On the menu - sage butter-rubbed roasted turkey, marshmallow brulee and seared Atlantic salmon.
Thanksgiving doesn't have to be conventional, after all. As long as you're giving thanks, it's all good, I say. So go ahead - let someone else do the dirty work in the kitchen for the day.