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Hotel Scams / Car Services / Business Travel Hotels / San Francisco Hotels / Hotel Safety / → All Tags
Business travelers in San Francisco and other big cities, get off your phones and pay close attention when leaving your hotel.
The other day this editor had an early morning flight out of San Francisco that required me to leave the hotel at 6:30am. Thankfully, I had a car service set up so that I could get some extra sleep in the morning, rather than wake up even earlier to take public transportation.
Still, when I stepped out of the hotel that morning at 6:35am, I didn't feel entirely awake. Not helping the situation were three black cars idling in front of the Hilton San Francisco in Union Square. A driver of one of the town cars had his back to me and was on the phone while holding a sheet of paper. The bellman asked me which car service I had arranged. I mentioned the name, then he asked for my last name, and suddenly, the man on the phone piped up and said “Ah yes!” and then said into the phone, “I found the customer.” I apologized for being a few minutes late, and got into the car.
As I sat down, the hotel’s bellman said, “Are you sure this is the right car service?” I asked the driver if he had my name on the paper he was holding in his hand. He stalled in answering me. At that moment, a man in a sharp suit walked up to the car (my door was still open) and said my name. I said, “Yes?” and he said he was from the car service that was ordered. I was in the wrong car.
The opulent enclave of Bellevue, Washington was once a perfect place to raise kids and horses. Then Bill Gates and the gang came to town and made Bellevue Seattle’s version of Silicon Valley.
There’s still plenty of equestrian activity and family fun to be had on the outskirts, but in the center of Bellevue, it’s a pretty sophisticated slice of life. Shops, spas, restaurants and bars abound in Bellevue, frequented by globally savvy jetsetters. Naturally, top hotels were necessary to cater to this clientele.
We found the three best in Bellevue for luxury, design and location.
LUXURY: Hotel Bellevue
The Bellevue Club is a private social and athletic club. The only way to access their state of the art fitness equipment, classes, spa and pool is to stay at Hotel Bellevue. Big name chain hotels rule this tech town. So, Hotel Bellevue is unique as it’s the only chic boutique in town with 67 spacious rooms, restaurant and bar. Finish your visit with an indulgent dip into the spa with a Regenerating Facial by Trina. (Ladies, Trina’s also known for doing the best Brazilians in Bellevue.)
Courtyard by Marriott Hotels / Hotel News / Marriott Hotels / Business Travel Hotels / Millennial Hotels / Hotel Design / Hotel Renovations / The Millennials / → All Tags
This ain't your daddy's Courtyard by Marriott Hotel!
Back in 2008, Courtyard by Marriott rolled out an entirely new lobby concept that drew guests out of the guestrooms and lured them downstairs to hang out at the Centro bar, nosh at the Bistro cafe and socialize anywhere else there was comfortable seating, which was pretty much everywhere.
From the media pods to the GoBoards which show off news, traffic reports and other pertinent info for business travelers to the almighty free WiFi, Courtyard's lobbies are now sought out not just by business travelers but by digital nomads like ourselves in need of a place to work and a bite to eat. Ok, and maybe a glass of wine too.
But it was only a matter of time before the Courtyard guestrooms would be expected to up their ante. And that's just what happened.
According to Janis Milham, Vice President and Global Brand Manager for Courtyard, guests started to talk of a "disconnect" between the forward-thinking lobby layout and the somewhat traditional guest rooms. So while Courtyard introduces new room protoypes every six years, it became clear that the next renovation of Courtyard rooms had to match what was happening downstairs.
It also had to grab the attention of the next generation of travelers. Yup, you got it--the millennials, who everyone is courting these days including Marriott's other brands, AC Hotels by Marriott which are coming to the U.S. next year and Moxy which will open in Europe.
So what does this next generation want from a hotel room? Well, after a lengthy design and testing process, which Milham said took about a year and a half, Courtyard is ready to show off its Gen Next guestrooms. We were able to peep an actual room prototype over the weekend and here's what we learned:
We got a chance to tour the East Hotel in Hong Kong in the city's Taikoo Shing district which bills itself as a "business hotel with a life" and while the hanging chairs in the suites definitely topped our list of Things We Liked, there's so much more to explore.
Our contributing editor, JetsetCD, did a thorough review of the hotel last year so be sure to read her play-by-play of an overnight stay if you're interested in booking a room here. But for now, allow us to pull out a few of our favorite things about East:
The Experience More at Marriott campaign features watercolor illustrations from artist Kareem Iliya whose done work for Louis Vuitton, Perrier Jouet and Tiffany & Co., a clear sign that Marriott is trying to showcase its newer, upscale properties.
One ad is targeted for business travelers, showing a shot of the hotel lobby with the tagline: "Where good company meets good business." A second ad shows off the spa ("Where relaxed meets revitalized"), while another one features a rooftop bar over a glittering city ("Where sophistication meets comfort.")
London Hotels / Mandarin Oriental Hotels / Business Travel Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / Hotel Awards / → All Tags
We've seen many a posh businessman quaffing whisky cocktails at the Mandarin Oriental London
File this under "Painfully Obvious": per results from the annual Condé Nast Traveller Readers' Travel Awards, London was voted the U.K.'s favorite city, with 14 of the top 15 U.K. business hotels located in London. Right. Because we expected Wolverhampton to give the nation's capital a run for its money in both categories.
Marriott Hotels / AC Hotels by Marriott / Autograph Collection / Europe Hotels / Latin America Hotels / Business Travel Hotels / Antonio Catalan / Hotel News / → All Tags
The AC Vilamari Hotel in Barcelona.
This brand, sprung from the loins of AC Hotels headed by Antonio Catalan who will remain on board, will aggressively go after the business travel and urban-leisure markets in Europe, particularly Spain, and Latin America.
“AC by Marriott” will incorporate the concept and business model of AC Hotels’ urban-style four-star hotel product, characterized by a unique blend of quality, comfort, design and technology, with Marriott International’s global systems, distribution, and sales platforms, particularly Marriott Rewards, one of the world’s largest hospitality loyalty programs with 33 million members.
Yup, that's right. Guests staying at AC By Marriott will be able to tap into the Marriott Rewards loyalty program, earning and using points during their stays.
Aria Las Vegas
As more and more leisure travelers start to bring their laptops, smartphones and other gadgets on vacation with them, hotels have responded by adding more plug panels, bigger workspaces, ergonomic desk chairs and better, although not always free, internet access option. In fact, nearly all hotel rooms we've stayed in this year could double as a business traveler's dream hotel.
But of course, not all hotel rooms are created equal. Some hotels clearly cater to the business traveler in better ways and Inc.com has summed up who's doing it best.
In their Business Travel 50 list, the mag compiled the best in biz travel from trip-planning tools, airlines, travel gadgets and our fave, hotels.
Ah, it's just like Upstairs, Downstairs! While Todd English is holding court with his new food hall down in the basement, the men in white gloves upstairs at The Plaza are getting ready to give you the business. That is, the hotel has just introduced its new Business Butler Package.
In a world of Foursquare and Twitter, and hotel technology that means we don't even have to talk to anyone if we don't want to, the idea of a butler is so quaint, isn't it? But, hell, if a man in a frock coat wants to run us a bath, plump our pillows and give our Louboutins a polish, we're not going to argue.
Hotel Spies / Budget Hotels / Courtyard By Marriott Hotels / Marriott Hotels / Business Travel Hotels / → All Tags
No wine for Myra!
Our very own hotel Agent Zero returns with yet another review. Her not-real name is Myra Ellen and she's our version of Alex Goran who travels once a week for business, usually along the Eastern seaboard. Every so often, she'll be dropping in with her latest hotel and travel observations. In this episode, she tries to go budget.
For about an hour, I was proud of myself. Proud that, with trips to two smaller cities in quick succession, I booked two nights in two budget chain hotels. (Granted, these particular towns didn’t have much else to offer in terms of upscale hotels. But I digress.) I even bragged about my frugality to Hotelchatter.
Here’s how I went wrong:
The first hotel, Courtyard by Marriot, didn’t have room service, but instead a lobby bar filled with businessmen buried in their USA Todays and a "pantry." My day-ending glass of wine was not to be had because my day ended too late by their standards. At 11:05pm, the bar was closed and the lobby empty.
Blessedly, the second hotel, an old-school Marriott Hotel, had room service, which felt inherently risky but inevitable after another long day. When an odd seafood dish arrived instead of "Shiraz", I had a sad. (And then waited for half an hour for the switch.)
Photo Gallery / Hotel Amenities / Hotel Minibars / Kimpton Hotels / Los Angeles Hotels / Business Travel Hotels / → All Tags
We popped in the Wilshire Corridor hotel yesterday to see how it's been holding up after opening two years ago. And we think the rooms and amenities have actually improved since we did our first sneak peek in 2008.
Ok, so the desk's awesome plug panel and the room's ginormous flat-screen TV have always been there, same with the free WiFi for Kimpton InTouch members.
But the Palomar has really upped the goodie factor from Francis Ford Coppola's wine and tons of treats in the minibar to the animal-print pajamas in the closet, jogging maps for the LA/Westwood area on the desk, an easy-to-read in-room dining menu from the restaurant, BLVD 16 and the "Forgot It? We've Got It Program", we don't think we'd want for anything staying here.
Business Travel Hotels / Hotel Services / Chicago Hotels / Wake-Up Calls / Shut Down Calls / James Hotels / → All Tags
We all know how clever hotels have become lately with their wake-up calls but one hotel in Chicago is taking a different route by encouraging guests to put away their laptops and go out and have some fun.
The "Shut Down" Calls are now a part of the services at The James Hotel, which is promoting the service as a part of their larger, "Weekday Bleisure" package. (Business + Leisure = Bleisure.) So instead of someone calling your room to tell you to wake-up, they are actually telling you to turn off your laptop. This is something we could use on a regular basis. (That and a mom voice to tell us to "Sit up straight!")