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The Smooth Operator's Secret Hotel Notes

September 26, 2012 at 4:24 PM | by | ()

Welcome to another hotel dispatch from our special contributor, The Smooth Operator. We can't divulge his identity but we can tell you he spends about 70 percent of his time on the road, staying in all the hot hotels and checking out their restaurants and bars to see if the social scene and rooms are up to snuff. If you're deciding whether or not to take a chance on that hip boutique hotel in the city, read The Smooth Operator for his opinion first. (Or send us an email and we'll have him answer it for you!)

From The Smooth Operator: I have a list I keep in my notes section of my Blackberry keeping track of rooms I've especially liked so I can book them on return trips. They include little tips that I'd like to share with you in case you're ever staying at these places, too.

Hudson Hotel, NY (Suite 877)
The Hudson is undergoing a room-by room-reno. Hopefully, the Philippe Starck dream decor will remain in tact as best as possible. Their new rooms(make sure you ask for one in advance of your stay so you're not stuck in the old wings) have new furniture, updated wood headboards, and many with new bathroom fixtures. The custom furniture fits the tight rooms very well. Be kind to the front desk manager and you may be in for a great upgrade. It helps to say 'please'.

NoMad Hotel, NY (Room 913)
The NoMad Hotel has been a hot spot since it opened a few months ago, but after having stayed in several rooms, it's good to know that separate from the interior rooms that overlook the courtyard, now filled with the glass-covered restaurant, are rooms that allow you to peak over the side and down 27th Street. Room 913 is perfect – a slight upgrade with footed bathtub and a great view.

AMES Hotel, Boston (Suite 304)
The AMES is a spectacular property from the Morgans Hotel Group. I got upgraded to a 600+ square-foot suite after a little convincing. Suite 304 is a spacious one-bedroom suite furnished with modern pieces that complement the state-of-the-art technology. There's a talented mini-bar as well as MALIN+GOETZ bath products. Room service from Woodward is brilliant with steak tartare with quail eggs, and tasty flatbreads. One of my best stays in the last year.

Loft 523, New Orleans (Penthouse 1)
This old warehouse holds one of the best secrets in the French Quarter. Upgraded from a standard loft to the Penthouse, I was surprised to see a wrap-around patio overlooking this quiet street in a busy city. The 12-foot hight ceilings and top-to-bottom windows offer an airy feel to this large unit. And, the 24-hour room service makes it a new favorite.

The Charlee, Medellin, Columbia (Upgrades Available)
Located in the shopping hood of Parque Lleras, this is the first Desires Hotels' international property and Colombia’s first boutique hotel. The rooms are spacious with expanded outdoor balconies overlooking the park. Tip: If you ask for a complimentary upgrade, they have rooms with a patio bar featuring a chef’s teppanyaki grill where you can arrange to have a hotel chef visit and cook a meal for you and your guests. Plus, they’ll usually upgrade you for free if you tell them it’s your first time visiting their city.

Room-Upgrade Tip: When arriving at a hotel, ask the bellman how busy they are and if he knows the occupancy rate. Most will tell you the number as they know how much traffic to expect. You now have ammunition at check-in to ask for a free upgrade if you already know your chances.

[Photo: HotelChatter/The Smooth Operator]

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