Hotels….that’s where it all happens….so to speak….they are our destination, our refuge from the vagaries of travel, our statement of who we are, and our islands of repose. So, why the hell are you staying in an ordinary hotel? Your hotel choice says as much about you to your friends as the clothes you wear. So, here too style counts. How much game do you have when you bring a special friend back to an ordinary hotel? But, whatever your style is, there is a hotel for you.
OK, hotels 101 begins now. As in real estate….location, location, location…you need to be at the center of things and night life. Nothing takes the edge off of a hot evening than a 30 minute cab ride to some God-forsaken chain hotel in the suburbs. Is that where your corporate travel agent put you? Shame on him and shame on you.
Point two…boutique, boutique, boutique….These hotel choices convey that you have an independent sense of style and are confident in your choice. As a runner up, I’d take the high end chains of Four Seasons, St. Regis, W, or the Ritz-Carlton. Ok, so your corporate travel budget and website don’t allow those choices, then pay for the upgrade difference. If you are locked in as I have been, that simply sucks. But, I never was in suburbia. Again, location trumps boutique. As for bed and breakfasts, leave them for the married crowd.
When I travel, I look for a smaller, more intimate, full-service hotel, with 24 hour room service, proper security, a knowledgeable concierge, access to a proper gym or health spa, and a good bar. I find that hotel cuisine is generally passable, but unremarkable. The 24 hour room service is important when entertaining en suite. Need I say more? Security is important depending on what part of the world you are visiting. A knowledgeable concierge is worth his weight in gold. He [and it most usually is a he] can get you concert tickets, entry into clubs, arrange for a quality, discrete driver and car, and handle other issues that may arise. Be sure always to tip well.
Think of these hotels as your home away from home. They ARE your refuge. I always feel wonderful when the front desk welcomes me each time by name. Suite upgrades happen effortlessly. Bar service is quicker. Gifts arrive mysteriously in the suite while I am away. I’m not a fool; I know I am paying for all this. But, it does help make travel that much more enjoyable.
I have found Splendia.com does an excellent job of sorting out boutique hotels. They require that you register as a member, but they offer discounts and the properties they cover fit with our lifestyle and our sense of style