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Cast aside all thoughts of Nicolas Cage photos by your bedside. Here is a concierge story to end all concierge stories.
The questions translated fairly clearly into action, and it soon became clear just why they’d asked so many questions – because this is a hotel that showers you with gifts from the moment you check in.
Things I received over a two-night stay:
OpenThread / Hotel Service / Hotel Heaven / Anantara Hotels / Phuket Hotels / Thailand Hotels / → All Tags
It may not look much, but what it represents is pretty huge.
This is a plate of turmeric, which I was handed the week before last during my stay at the Anantara Phuket Layan, Anantara’s newest Phuket hotel, which opened in January in a cove at Layan, near Bangtao Beach.
Why was I handed a plate of grubby roots? Because the previous day, I’d learned that in Thailand, turmeric is a widely used remedy for mosquito bites (FYI: it works brilliantly). So the following morning, I asked the breakfast staff whether there was any turmeric in the kitchen. No, they said, but we can go and buy some for you if you'd like. I said no thanks, and thought no more of it, going off to the beach to itch. Twenty minutes later, a member of staff rushed up, proffering this plate of turmeric. Now that is customer service.
Of course, service standards in SE Asia are always head and shoulders above those in the West, but Anantara Layan really stood out, even by Asian standards. Over the course of three days there, here’s what various members of staff did:
Now this is how you encourage repeat visitors.
When we checked into the Vintage Hotel in Brussels a few weeks ago, we found this confection on the bed. Two Jules Destrooper waffle cookies – yes please! And this “keep calm and let’s make a deal” card which, when you turned it over, offered 10% off future stays.
Now, of course, 10% isn’t much, not for a hotel where rooms hover around the €100 mark. It’s not the kind of deal to see you hopping on the next Eurostar. But that’s not the point – the point is that it makes you think they value your patronage, and that’s the kind of thing that makes you want to book again.
Hotel Heaven / Luxury Hotels / London Hotels / Hotel Staff / Customer Service / Maybourne Hotels / Hotel Bars / Hotel Cocktails / → All Tags
Claridge's Juleps (£18 each)
There’s been a lot to depress us about the London hotel scene recently. Homophobes and boycotts. $127 drinks. Finding out that some of our favorite hotels have minimum spend policies. So when a luxury hotel in London steps up to the plate in terms of superb customer service, and reinforces our every hope about them, instead of dashing said hope into little pieces and then grinding it into the floor with a steel-capped heel, we should all rejoice. Put your hands together then, ladies and gents, for Claridge's.
Last Thursday, I went for drinks at Claridge’s with a friend. Drinks at Claridge’s has always seemed a little intimidating and out of budget for both of us, despite my having stayed there once, and both of us having watched the BBC documentary about Claridge’s more times than is good for us. It’s not your average after-work bar; it’s Claridge’s. Not only that, but there are two bars at Claridge’s: the normal one, and the tiny, sexy, marble-clad, gold-leafed, Lalique-glassed Fumoir that seats only 36, bans photos, and has a no reservations policy. That was the one we wanted.
I arrived first, and approached the Fumoir gingerly. Of course we have room, madam, said a man in a plum-colored velvet dinner jacket. Which table would you prefer? I picked the best table. He allowed me to do so. Score one to Claridge’s.
A few months back we talked about our pet peeves design-wise when staying in a hotel. But of course, there are a ton of things we love very much about hotel rooms. (There has to be, otherwise we wouldn't keep on coming back!)
So in this merry and joyous holiday season when everyone is
buying Oprah's list of thinking up their "favorite things" we decided to compile a list of our 10 Favorite Things Found in Hotel Rooms.
Admittedly, this is a mix of amenities, furniture and technology but all of this plays into the overall design of the guestroom and more importantly, the overall hotel experience.
Today, we welcome our very own hotel Agent Zero, the first in what we hope to be a larger network of hotel spies. 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. And awwaaaaay we go!
I stayed at the Thompson LES recently and experienced a Manhattan nighttime first: silence.
True silence from about 11pm until maybe 7:30am. No street noise, no doors slamming or hallway clatter, no ruckus of any kind. I'm still bewildered by that and wonder if perhaps I was actually in a coma. It's hard to explain how rare this phenomenon is for me.
Where, I wondered, were the trucks? The sirens? The garbage trucks? And since this is a Thompson hotel, where was the thud-thud-thud of the lounge music? The answer: if it was there, we didn't hear it.
Ed. Note: Maybe the hotel really took the neighbors' complaints to heart.
When our friend told us this story, we just knew we had to share, because it's stuff like this that takes the chill out of a cold, cold day.
One night, while on business in Huntington Beach, CA, our friend* proceeded to get absolutely wasted, lose her wallet and arrive at her hotel a sobbing, disoriented mess.
It was in this state that the front desk of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa came to her rescue, calling every bar she had been to that night in search of her wallet, even calling the airline to see how she could board the plane for her flight home sans ID. (The wallet eventually showed up, fully intact, courtesy of that night's cab driver—more warm and fuzzy feelings!)
HotelChatter Reviews / Hotel Heaven / Ritz-Carlton Hotels / Hotel Services / Bath Butlers / → All Tags
Staying at a luxury resort can sometimes feel like falling through a rabbit hole of helplessness. Even if you're accustomed to, say, setting an alarm clock or parking a car, why should you when someone is at the ready to do it for you? It's like being a baby who can drink.
We thought we'd seen the best of this before we encountered the Bath Butler at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay in California. A Gatsby-esque mansion blown up to Size XL along the foggy coast, the property, which opened in 2001, advertises such amenities as a cart for returning joggers offering towels and water (chilled or room temperature?) and a bagpiper who plays on the terrace at sunset.
Really, for this apartment dweller, the lounge-worthy alcove bathtub would have been delight enough, but having someone draw the bath for us sounded like a pretty great deal.
Have you heard about Seoul's hotness? South Korea's hipper-than-thou capital is gaining street cred due to a recent opening of a 10 Corso Como, a Fashion Week growing quickly in international regard, and not to mention the popularity of Korean TV dramas around the world.
The development of Seoul as a sort of new Tokyo (albeit slightly more affordable) is creating a distinctive thirst among tourists and locals alike: for luxury and high design.
This is why, in a city where women wear high heels everywhere, the Metro Hotel Myungdong looks and feels so good. So it doesn't have the best views, but then what is a great view in a city planned without much regard to green spaces and well...city planning?
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You still have a chance to hit this place in April before the mercury jumps to possibly unbearable levels in Vietnam. Thing is, as the temperature rises the prices go down, so you may be able to score a deal if you can stand the heat.
Top notch service, plenty of snorkeling, a bit of windsurfing, a beach, which is cleaned daily, and a brand spankin' new spa-- pretty much all the upscale resort prerequisites.
Oh, and there are wild monkeys on the premises who are known to playfully shake the trees behind some of the villas, who knows maybe they even shake the villas themselves--just in case you and your significant other can't get the job done--this place has romance written all over it.
Insider Tip: If you are a hotel view-o-phile stay in on of the Hill Top Suites for a killer view.
[Photo: Notorious S.I.G.]
· Evason Hideaway Comments [TripAdvisor]
Most people rave about a great hotel after they've stayed there, but some get all excited just knowing it exists. At Susan Connor's Spiralbound blog, she's practically started hyperventilating after discovering Copenhagen's Hotel Fox. Susan says:
When I was skimming through some back-issues of Artichoke magazine, I just couldn't help but drool all over the article about Hotel Fox ... I can definitely see staying here and never even going out to any museums. This place looks like heaven. There should be more visionary, profit-making projects like this in the world. Fun for all.
Of course we'd prefer Susan checked in first before publicly claiming the Fox is the place, but there's something else new this month that we like about it. They've started their very own Ask Me page with experts for every aspect of Copenhagen life--so if you want to know where to see new exhibits, what sport you can catch while you're there or (most importantly, we think) where to eat and drink, there are a bunch of cool, knowledgeable Danes to ask.
If you're aspiring to a luxury holiday with a difference in New Zealand, you'll either hate our pun or be pleased to stay near Mt Aspiring National Park. An hour from Queenstown in New Zealand's Southern Alps, Riverrun Lodge is a small, personal-touch guesthouse with a 5-star feel.
Previous guests rave about it, enjoying factors as diverse as the "woodsy smell of fresh timbers" and the "porch overlooking the hillside" to the relaxing atmosphere. A big kudos to what's outside the lodge, too:
When you are tired of just looking at the beautiful countryside, you can take off walking from the hotel. You'll cross a turquoise stream, walk through bushes that are solid flowers, then climb a small, flower-covered mountain that will give you a breathtaking view of snow-capped mountains beyond, and a turquoise blue river below. Thought I was in Heaven, but alas, it was just the Riverrun Lodge.
So if you want to get a feel for the natural beauty of the South Island of New Zealand, a couple of nights near the mountains is probably a good way to do it. Oh, and before you ask why it's called "Riverrun", the mighty Clutha River (NZ's largest) runs along its border. Why they didn't bother with a space between River and Run, however, is something we can't answer.
[Photo: Girl loves to go]
· Riverrun Lodge reviews [TripAdvisor]