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Hotels have been very keen on hotel spas in recent years--whether opening their own full-blown facilities with a dozen treatment rooms and exotic therapies or simply having one or two treatment rooms available with the basic rub-downs all travelers need. But just because a hotel might be five-star, doesn't mean its spa is. We told you what to look for in a very good spa as well as signs of a very bad spa. Now, here's are some ways to ensure your next massage is the absolute best it can be.
Besides emerging from your hotel spa feeling like a brand new human being, there are a few things you can watch out for in order to detect whether or not the spa you are visiting is really as good as it should be. We’ve already given you our insider’s top spa knowledge points, but now we turn to the nitty-gritty...to the moment you get naked...the actual massage.
A lot can happen when lying back on the massage table and a lot can go amiss too. One thing’s for sure though, the benefits of a massage are underestimated. When done right and regularly massage, plays an important role in keeping the body healthy. Massage techniques are hard to judge because they vary so widely in type (Californian, Swedish, Thai, Balinese, Ayurvedic, etc) and depend on the training institute.
For that reason, we won’t be going into the actual techniques that may descend upon your body. Rather, we'll focus on 6 little touches (heh) that can make a good massage even better.
Wine hour at the Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia
By now, Kimpton's signature hosted wine hour between 5 and 6 p.m. for hotel guests is no secret, and it's one of the best efforts around when it comes to perks included in a stay. Not only because you get a few glasses of free wine, but because it's a chance to meet other guests and get a feel for the hotel's personality.
With that in mind, you can imagine that many guests make it a point to attend. On a recent stay at the Hotel Monaco Denver, we were bummed when our schedule didn't allow us to check into the hotel until about 6:30 p.m., after the wine hour had ended. But without any prompt or mention of wine hour from us, Kimpton threw out a solid gesture we never expected: The front desk agent acknowledged we had missed wine hour, and then offered us a coupon for a free glass of wine at the hotel's restaurant, Panzano.
A little surprised, we inquired. Turns out, if you miss wine hour at a Kimpton, whether it's because you check in late or because you're out enjoying yourself, you can ask for a voucher at the front desk that will get you a free glass of wine at the hotel bar or restaurant.
Hotel Tips / Hotel Lists / Lists / Raffles Hotels / Dubai Hotels / Singapore Hotels / Phillipines Hotels / → All Tags
When it comes to knowing what’s going on in a city, hotels pretty-much have the inside scoop. Raffles Hotels & Resorts, with its swanky hotels across the globe, has put together a list of where to go, when and why for every month of the year.
Here’s what they recommend for the next few months to get you prepped to travel.
Dubai in April – For the Dubai Camel Racing Festival
Forget April in Paris when there’s the Dubai Camel Racing Festival (April 6-17, 2014). A major fixture on the Dubai social calendar, this is the Middle East’s version of “the season.” Over the twelve day festival, thousands of meticulously trained camels compete in rounds to win their owners jaw-dropping cash prizes. Stays at Raffles Dubai from 1314 AED ($358).
Keep going for more What to Do's!
Last week, we kinda couldn't believe a recent survey that said 75 percent of travelers no longer ordered room service. That seemed like a crazy high percentage given that so many hotels offer room service (budget brands and the Hilton New York not withstanding.) Not to mention we ourselves almost always order room service. Could we really be part of a dying breed of hotel guests?
Thankfully, a few of you room service loyalists agreed with us in the comments section. But one longtime HotelChatter reader, Courtney M., gave us an excellent tip on Facebook:
In most cities, I order delivery service using my iPad versus room service because it is so much cheaper and so many more options. Sometimes the hotels charge me a fee to allow them to deliver to me, but I usually just meet them in the lobby.
Ok, now that is smart. And convenient, especially after midnight or whenever the hotel stops ordering room service. But don't worry room service, we still want you in bed with us so you're safe for breakfast orders.
Got any other room service tips to share? Do it in comments below!
Hotel Tips / Hotel Commandments / Royal Hotels / London Hotels / Luxury Hotels / David Morgan-Hewitt / Hotel News / → All Tags
London's poshest hotels sure are particular about keeping their guests happy, but we shouldn't be too surprised. This is their, and any other hotel's, #1 rule of business. But now we're getting even more insight as to exactly how these luxe hotels are doing it.
On the heels of the 10 commandments, comes a new set of tips aimed at keeping VIP guests happy. And when we say "VIP", we don't mean someone looking to splash out for a night but rather, heads of state, celebrities and yes, even royals.
David Morgan-Hewitt, the managing director of The Goring Hotel, has given HotelChatter his own personal rules for ensuring that his very, very, very important guests are happy during their stay. We especially love #5 and #6. But don't worry, if you don't fall into the VIG category, just read rule #10.
The Goring's 10 Tips for Keeping VIP Guests Happy
· 1. Make them feel at home. Just because the guest is grand does not mean they are going to want to be in a place that sees itself as grand.
· 2. Know who they are. Do your homework, find out about their likes and dislikes, their hobbies, their family, their work. Anything that you know about them will all help.
· 3. Personalise their stay. Do not just throw standard amenities and service elements at them. Tailor your efforts to things that they will appreciate.
· 4. Talk to them. No matter who you are whether you a Monarch, a President or a film star, you are still a human being.
· 5. Do not allow bad behaviour. Being a VIP or a Royal does not allow you to be rude, insensitive or aggressive. It is very important to start off on the right foot. Sometimes a conversation needs to be had with guests who do not quite get this. We once had a guest here who was feared and loathed by another deluxe hotel because of the way she behaved. From her first stay, she was putty in our hands because she knew the rules and she felt she belonged.
Hotel Tips / Hotel Commandments / Hotel Butlers / St Regis Hotels / London Hotels / Daniel Jordaan / → All Tags
In an age where you can remotely check-into a hotel with your smartphone and then use the in-room iPad to order breakfast from room service and tell housekeeping to change your towels, human interaction at hotels seems to be decreasing minute-by-minute every year. Often times, the only time we talk to a hotel employee is at check-in and, if something isn't working in the room.
But luxury hotels still put a premium on face-to-face interaction, thanks to their staff of well-trained concierges, front desk agents, bell men, housekeepers and more, who constantly check to make sure their guests have everything they need. And the uber-luxe hotels keep the constant contact going with their butler service, like the The Lanesborough Hotel in London, where a personal butler is automatically available to every guest who books a room. (The hotel was one of the first hotels to institute private butlers almost 25-years-ago.) Machines can do a lot but can they anticipate your needs like a real-live human butler? Not just yet.
To show how butlers can stay on top of their refined service game as we become increasingly dependent on machines, Daniel Jordaan, Head Butler of The Lanesborough, has shared his 10 Commandments List for hotel butlers.
These rules not only ensure that hotel guests' every need will be met but also offer some valuable insight for anyone working in the hospitality industry, in any position. No smartphone apps needed! We are especially big fans of #2, #3, and #6. (Actually, we're fans of all of them but these really stood out for us.)
Keep reading to see the full list of the 10 Commandments for Hotel Butlers
The Marina Bay Sands is easily Singpore's most iconic hotel. And if you make it to the city, we recommend at the very least taking a peek inside the atrium-style lobby or even heading upstairs for lunch at the rooftop eatery KU DE TA.
However, if you're Singapore-bound this summer, and are planning to book a night at the 2,561-room hotel, here's some friendly advice you may want to keep in mind: every August 9, Singapore celebrates National Day to commemorate Singapore's independence from Malaysia in 1965. And just like how towns across the US explode with fireworks every July 4, so too does Marina Bay light up with an impressive pyrotechnics display on the big day.
From what we hear, sh*t gets real cray. Not only do the malls fill up with shoppers ready to cash in on the Great Singapore Sale (that's a whole other story), but all the Marina Bay-facing hotels get bought up by locals who want to have the best views possible of the fireworks.
This means that rooms at the MBS can go for as high as SGD $700/night, when usually they're about half that price—or less.
Manhattan Hotels / Hotel Tips / Hotel Rooftops / Hotel Dessert / Hotel Bikes / Hotel Amenities / → All Tags
From music festivals to Central Park frolicking to outdoor movie screenings, summer is one of the most exciting times to visit NYC. Of course, it's also when the city's at its muggiest, smelliest, and most hectic. Here are a few tips on ways to make the most of NYC in the summer by staying at a hotel:
1. Rooftops, rooftops, rooftops: Nothing beats having your own personal rooftop oasis in the middle of bustling Manhattan. Places like Hotel Americano (pictured) and The Peninsula will make those sweltering days seem a lot more manageable, and when the sun goes down, the party starts.
Keep an eye out for our yearly NYC hotel rooftop report, coming soon!
Four more tips after the jump!
It's one of those subjects we just can't seem to get enough of--hotel housekeeping. We love to hear stories about your experiences with the staff, good or bad. But even better, we adore it when the maids themselves dish the literal dirt on what they've seen with their own eyes.
We happened to check out this story called "Sh*t the Hotel Maid Says" and we thought it was high time we interviewed someone in the industry, because the stories we read were hilarious (a spider monkey hiding in the vent??).
A pal of ours (we'll call her "Maid Marian") did a housekeeper stint at a boutique hotel that happens to be on the PGA Tour circuit. It's not a big chain, so she requested anonymity.
Here's her lowdown on the best and worst things she saw, and tips on how to be a great guest.
We recently stayed at a large chain hotel (erm, kinda rhymes with chariot) and everything was fine until we went into the bathroom and took a shower. Not only was there no shower gel, but there wasn't any lotion! Only shampoo and conditioner and two skimpy bars of soap.
Now, we weren't that upset about the lack of shower gel, we get some hotels don't use it. But lotion? C'mon. When we went to the front desk the next day we were told that you just have to simply ask someone at reception for lotion. Um...what fresh hell is that?
Flash forward to an unpleasant TSA experience where they wanted us to show them our quart-size baggie full of our liquids. We haven't done that in ages. We've just simply put the appropriate size products in our Dopp kit and sailed through the scanner. After all, if it's over 3.4 oz they'll nab you anyway, right?
So, after our fit returning home, we wondered how could we ensure we'd never be caught in a hotel without essentials, but also bring with us amenities we wish hotels had so we could cut down our liquid lugging.
Luckily, we found some solutions!
What you don't want to see in the hotel safe when you've returned to your room.
Last week we talked about what guests were stealing from their hotels and it turns out, a lot of you are stealing way more than the bath toiletries and the slippers. (Seriously, how do you smuggle lamps and artwork out of a hotel? Extra large suitcases, we guess!)
But today, we've got a more serious side of hotel theft to talk about--the hotel safe, as in what to do when the hotel safe isn't safe?
A reader emailed us from the Hotel du Louvre, a five-star property in Paris located near three of the city's biggest landmarks--the Louvre, the Opéra Garnier and the Palais Royal. Room rates here start around 370 euros a night (or about $483). But just because it's a fancy spot, doesn't mean your valuables are safe, even when you put them in the safe. Our distraught reader tells us her tale:
We should preface this by saying: we don't consider ourselves mooches. Far from it. We're loyal, paying, upstanding hotel guests. However, in all our years of hotel sleuthing, we've picked up a few tricks on ways to use a hotel without ever actually staying there as a guest. You'll be amazed at all the things you can get done (or not) without ever setting foot in a room.
So, without further ado, here's why you should go to a hotel the next time you have to…
Use a printer: Whether you have some urgent Facebooking to do, or simply need to print out a boarding pass, many hotels have business centers that you can use for a small fee—or, if they're nice, for free.
Freshen up: Three reasons you're better off sneaking into a hotel bathroom rather than the nearest Starbucks? One, they're cleaner. Two, there's usually music playing. And three, they're cleaner.