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In addition to the resort fees that have been a topic of late, more often we’re seeing little charges on our hotel bills or hearing of people being nickel-and-dimed for services they feel should be included in the hotel rate. The Federal Trade Commission has recently sent a letter to some hotels, warning them to disclose all fees in the total hotel price.
Here’s some of the more finer print charges you should be on the look-out for:
Bedside Water: Oh, you think that bottle of water at turndown is to quench your middle-of-the night the thirst? Sure it is, to the tune of $7. Take a look a pic above. The bottle was turned so we didn’t see the price sticker until the morning (we’d come in pretty late night before) and had already taken a swig. Bam! And it tasted like regular tap water to boot!
Early departure fee: Some hotels will charge you if you have reserved for a certain amount of days and decide to check-out early. They’ve already counted on that revenue and need to make it up if you’ve changed your mind.
Minibar removal fees: You think you’re doing the right thing by removing treat temptation if you ask staff to remove or empty the mini-bar. This is especially true with small children on board. But that service isn’t free in some hotels. You may find a charge of up to $25 on your bill. And if you ask for a minifridge to chill your own treats? Expect a fee for that!
Hotel Tips / LA Hotels / Four Seasons Hotels / LA Quinta Resorts / Thompson Hotels / California Hotels / → All Tags
Los Angeles may be glitz and glam but it's also energy, wellness and all things "New Age". And when it comes to hotels, these two concepts merge. Seriously! According to Aiden Chase, a notable psychic and healer, LA has special "centers" whether vortexes or energy fields like Stonehenge, the Pyramids, Hawaii and Sedona. It's a powerful place, y'all, and no one knows best like Chase, who People magazine touts as "Hollywood's Healer."
"There's an energy field in the land here that supports wishes and dreams," says Chase. "LA’s natural “good vibe” energy from the Hollywood hills to the ocean has supported the fulfillment of people's dreams from the actor to the entrepreneur for over 100 years." So where does the highbrow and spiritual merge? Believe it or not, at some of the finest of luxury hotels. "The energy is great at many of the top hotels because they are maintained with loving care, with an intention for good energy, success and well-being and honor of each property’s history."
Here's Chase's list of hotels with the best energy in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
Hotel Tips / Do Not Do / Tips / Lists / Hotel Advice / → All Tags
We're gonna assume that if you've ended up here on our site, which is all about hotels, then you've stayed in one at least once before. Yet even frequent hotel guests can always use some helpful reminders of Things Not To Do When Staying in a Hotel.
Don't Expect an Early Check-In: Hotels have check-in times of 2 to 4 pm for a reason--they need time to get the room ready for the next guest. That said, hotels aren't always fully booked so if you arrive at 11am and want to check-in, staff could feasibly accommodate you. But...don't count on it in advance.
Don't Let The Hotel Walk You Unless...: They pay for your room and your transportation to the new hotel. If you aren't familiar with the term "walking", it essentially means the hotel doesn't have a room for you and must send you to a different property. This often happens when you book through third-party travel sites. But if you reserve directly through the hotel and they still don't have a room for you, then the hotel needs to pay for your stay elsewhere and any reasonable transportation (cab ride, car service) costs to get there.
Don't Use the Bedspread: We're just not going to apologize for our germaphobe stance on this. The stats are in and the covers have gotta go. Here's our suggestion: Take a hanger from the closet, use it to lift the top blanket off the bed and drop it on the floor. Thankfully, many hotels are taking a No-Comforter approach in the guestrooms, but a few are still insisting on those dreaded floral bedspreads that probably haven't been washed in a queen's age.
This is the second installment of an interview with Reed Timmer, star of Discovery Network's Storm Chasers and the daredevil behind the new--and even more extreme--online series Tornado Chasers.Just Luxe's Lena Katz talks more with Timmer about weather-related hotel hells and why troubled travelers should try not press the panic button.
LK: Given a situation where hotels recommend guests evacuate and it’s just too hard logistically to do it – if the hotel is sturdy and there’s no risk of physical danger as long as everyone stays inside – how bad could it really be for guests to just stay put?
RT: A few years ago we were documenting Hurricane John in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. While we were granted permission to cover the storm from a sturdy hotel with our media passes, all of the tourists who didn't evacuate were forced into an underground space that clearly wasn't large enough to comfortably accommodate them. We went down there to check it out, and the smell was horrifying, the food was limited and worse than you’d see in a prison. You could see it in the peoples’ faces that they were on the verge of mental breakdowns. PLEASE do not put yourself in that situation unless you have no choice.
Reed Timmer, star of Storm Chasers on Discovery Network, and the daredevil behind the new--even more extreme--online series Tornado Chasers, monitors worrisome weather warnings as closely as the rest of us do. Maybe even more. But right about the time we start freaking out over a possible mega-blizzard looming over the hotel we’re heading to, Timmer is like, “Let me see…how fast can I get there?” He’s prepping his armored tank, The Dominator, to head right out to the watch zone and cover the storm.
For those crazy few of you thinking, “How can I get a seat in this armored tank?” Lucky you. Timmer’s new company, Extreme Tornado Tours, is currently bringing people out to view Mother Nature’s most terrifying tantrums from a front-row seat.
For the 90% of us just trying to figure out whether we should a) pack an emergency blizzard/hurricane kitb)tell the boss that on this business trip, we will not be driving to any meetings, or c) cancel the trip altogether, we spoke to Timmer and he gave us some great tips on how to handle severe weather while on the road and some awesome (if harrowing) hotel stories from his many storm-chasing years.
Hotel Tips / Housekeeping / Hotel Housekeeping / Reader Tips / Hotel Services / Hotel Maids / → All Tags
After 40 years at the Fontainebleau, we bet Willie knocks twice, even three times!
So we had a moment yesterday. OK, it was a bit of a meltdown, if you want to get technical. We were at wits end wondering why we were seemingly targeted for housekeepers worldwide who would bust in our hotel rooms after just one knock. We whined at the injustice of it all, and asked the universe what was the official protocol on such things.
Well, the universe (aka a poster named "Wunderkind") took the time to gently school us on the ins and outs of Hotel Housekeeping 101 and we thought it only fitting we share that education with you fine folks.
Read on for Wunderkind's explanation (edited for lengthy/clarity) and what you should do to avoid hotel invasions, and the reason you may get one anyway (hint: they think you might be dead, dude).
We often have debates with people on the road and in the travel industry about all-inclusive resorts. Some people hate them, others love them, and, in our opinion, it breaks down into a fight of travelers versus vacationers. Some people’s idea of a good time is backpacking through Asia (travelers), and some like to post up by the pool and drink for six days (vacationers). Many are right down the middle and think margaritas make local Mexican history more interesting.
The latter is an approach we find to make sense for a majority of the population. There will always be the extremes on both sides, but for the most part, people just want to relax and have fun. Yes, you can take advantage of the amenities of an all-inclusive and not hide behind the walls of the resort all day and night Here are five ways for vacationers and travelers to meet in the middle while staying at all-inclusive resorts:
Now that the Ritz Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach is opening on December 12th, travelers are booking as fast as we type this--and why not? The resort is impressive (and expensive).
We've talked at length about the Dorado's high points, from the Jose Andres restaurant to the five-acre spa with treehouse massage platforms. And didn't you hear? Guests will also receive gold bars at turndown. We lie about the latter, but it's not unlikely.
So, what's the fate of the original Ritz-Carlton, San Juan? It probably will no longer reign as mother hen to Puerto Rico's jetset—but it's still a top property that shouldn't be forgotten.
In fact, here are 5 reasons we encourage you to still stay there, especially if the Dorado's four-figure price tag is tripping you out.
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You get this gratis at the FS Beverly Hills, when you have a special occasion, so mention it!
Sure, there are a number of things you've probably done to save money at hotels. Maybe you signed up for a loyalty program for the free WiFi and room upgrade ("when available"). Perhaps you booked at the respective hotel's web site to secure the "best guaranteed rate".
You're probably thinking: Tell me something I don't already know. Well, as a travel writer for the past ten years (on a tight budget, for that matter), I'm divulging my best secrets. Some tips are common sense, some are things you might not have ever thought about.
Either way, the following advice is guaranteed to have you save $$$—without feeling ghetto about it!
Hotel News / Hotel Woes / JW Marriott Hotels / Chicago Hotels / Hotel Pools / Hotel Safety / Hotel Tips / → All Tags
New this May, JW Marriott Chicago's chlorine-less pool touted a UV-light filtration process
Here’s what we know so far: an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease has been connected to 10 guests who visited or stayed at the JW Marriot Chicago between mid-July and mid-August. As of this past Friday, three of those guests died from the disease. The same strain of legionella bacteria found in the ill guests was also found in JW Marriott Chicago's pool, whirlpool, and decorative fountain in the main lobby, all of which have since been drained. The bacteria was also found in the men's and women's lockers rooms.
The Chicago Department of Public Health reported last week that the JW Marriott was fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation and had taken the recommended measures to reduce the risk of exposure. They now believe there is no ongoing health threat at the hotel.
It's heavy hotel news, but sadly, legionnaires' happens in the hotel (hot-tubing, cruise-shipping and hospital-going) world. Last year alone, it sickened two guests and claimed the life of another at Luxor, and sickened six at Aria, both in Vegas.
Essentially a severe pneumonia, legionnaires’ is caused by high concentrations of legionella bacteria that show up in water. It can survive for many months in that wet environment, especially in warm water. Transmission isn’t totally understood, but the gist of it is that it’s not spread by person-to-person contact but by inhaling or ingesting the legionella microbes (read: drinking the water, breathing in the vapor above and around the water). Once contracted, legionnaires’ can take anywhere from two to eight days to show up.
Deep in the hotel trenches, we also know that the new-in-May pool at JW Marriott was very unique in its UV filtration process—an important fact absent from the majority of news on the outbreak. Dubbed a high-tech pool by the hotel, the 11.2 meter chlorine-less pool was instead filtered by UV-light. According to the hotel’s original press release on the pool, “the water flows through UV-light chambers to eliminate 99% of all toxins and bacteria resulting in less chlorine in the pool than in average drinking water.” The release continues, “The absence of chlorine eliminates allergies and irritations and offers the feeling of swimming in a fresh water lake.”
Staybridge Suites / Extended Stay Hotels / Celebrity Hotels / Hotel Tips / Hotel Kitchens / Hotel News / Facebook / → All Tags
Anyone looking to learn a little more about the world of extended-stay hotels ought to take a look at the brief report we posted last week. If, however, you're all too familiar with the notion of week-long or month-long hotel stays, and have been doing them for years, then you're aware that things can get boring. Fast.
Thank goodness, then, that Staybridge Suites has teamed up with TV personality G. Garvin to film a 25-minute video clip that helps travelers deal with the strain of being alone in a hotel room every night with nothing fun to do.
Garvin apparently knows a thing or two about being lonely on the road. That's what leads him to say things like, "I feel your pain," and then launch into a 25-minute discourse on life-saving matters like how women should pack less shoes, and how turkey chili, turkey quesadillas and turkey tacos are actually a really great "quick" meal to whip up in a hotel kitchenette.
Moral of the story: G. Garvin has a real thing for turkey.
Last week was not a good week for New York hotels and now it looks like the bad luck has shifted to Chicago after a 22-year-old woman was found killed in her hotel room at the Whitehall Hotel in the city's Gold Coast neighborhood.
The victim was found dead yesterday morning with a gunshot wound to her head. The homicide investigation is continuing but polices sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that the woman was arrested for prostitution just five days earlier. She also had a prior prostitution arrest in Texas back in April.
While murders and other horrifying deaths happen in hotels somewhat frequently, it doesn't mean that hotel guests are totally cool with staying there afterwards. In this case, the Sun-Times found a couple who had booked a week-long anniversary stay at the Whitehall but who promptly turned around at check-in and left in search of a new place after learning about the murder.
Another family told the Sun-Times they were thankful they were checking out the next day, after having dealt with police taking over the seventh floor for the investigation. We take that to mean the Whitehall wasn't issuing any refunds for the disruption. And that's actually a very common practice.