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There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· The Laura Ashley Hotel Has Opened But Looks Nothing Like Our Old Dresss: After our mothers clothed us in Laura Ashley from head to toe for about a good five years and blanketed our childhood bedroom in, well, Laura Ashley blankets, pillows and wallpaper, you will have to excuse us for not being all that excited about the first Laura Ashley, The Manor to open. The Guardian reports that Hertfordshire Tudor revival property, 11 miles from London, will have 49 rooms featuring a "discreet modern bloom", neutral walls and carpets and check curtains. But we have to admit, looking at the gallery of rooms, they don't look anything like the floral abominations we were forced to wear as a child. Indeed, it looks like a quaint country getaway. Rooms start at £150 for a standard room.
Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World
Last week we rounded up the known loyalty programs of boutique hotels and the other day, in our annual WiFi report we listed the loyalty programs of some of the bigger chains. Today we're exploring yet another way to get free WiFI and other complimentary perks during your next hotel stay--by joining the loyalty programs of various hotel collections.
· Destination Hotels & Resorts: The privately held hospitality management company has nearly 40 independent, luxury and upscale hotels, resorts and golf clubs in its portfolio such as Terranea Resort near Los Angeles and the MileNorth Hotel in Chicago. Their Destination Delivers loyaly program gives members 10 percent off the best available rate, complimentary room upgrades or late check-outs (based upon availability), VIP status (varies by property but includes an F&B amenity, welcome gift and other perks) and 20 percent off a two-night stay for their birthday month.
· Epoque Hotels: The Epoque Hotels collection consists of hundreds of truly boutique hotels throughout the world from Beijing to Barcelona and Brisbane. Becoming a member of Club Epoque gets you six percent of the total cost of your hotel stay put into your Epoque Bank which you can use towards future reservations (once you hit $50.) You also get early check-ins/late check-outs, the right to gift your bank to someone else and credit for when someone you referred also makes a reservation through Epoque Hotels. As for free WiFi, Club Epoque doesn't offer that perk because all their hotels already have free WiFi.
The Hermitage Hotel in Monte Carlo, now with free internet!
Over the summer we told you to follow the leader, The Leaders Club, the membership program for the Leading Hotels of the World, because it would give you access to better hotel rates at top properties around the world.
The program also gives its members room upgrades when available, early and/or late check-out and a welcome gift. Every five nights you stay in a year will even get you a complimentary night at a Leading Hotel.
And this year, belonging to the program just got a whole lot sweeter. The Leaders Club is now offering guests complimentary internet access and continental breakfast for two daily during their stays.
The Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica, a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts
We've been not-so-casually looking at the different hotel collections out there these days as an alternative for booking hotels. Often times, these collections have their own loyalty programs for guests as well as guaranteed perks just for booking through their sites.* These perks range from room upgrades to free breakfast and free WiFi, at no extra cost.
Recently, we've checked out Kiwi Hotels, Leading Hotels of the World and Epoque Hotels. And today, we're exploring the Preferred Hotels & Resorts collection, who we fell in like with last week after getting a sneak peek from them about the upcoming Redbury Hotel in Hollywood.
Make bank by staying at places like Chicago's Hotel Sax.
Club Epoque may sound like the latest Hollywood all-night dance venue for hard-partying starlets like Lindsay Lohan, but it's actually the newest hotel loyalty program from the Epoque collection.
The way Club Epoque works is that for every stay at a member hotel, you'll earn 6 percent of the pre-tax room price to your bank. Once you accrue $50, you can start dipping into your bank and applying it directly to a reservation.
Hotel Collections / Leading Hotels of the World / Private Sales / Hotel Deals / Hotel Loyalty Programs / → All Tags
This year we've been gaga for private sales and blind booking but sometimes we're not always in the mood to play hotel roulette and sometimes our wishy washy travel plans can't handle those strict payment policies-- fully paid, no refunds, no changes and no cancellations--that often come with private sale and secret hotel bookings. But that doesn't mean we want to pay full price.
Now, we're slowly starting to see that there's a definite advantage in belonging to hotel collections--members only deals!
Our newest membership is with The Leaders Club of The Leading Hotels of The World. Right now, they are offering their own private sale of 30 to 50 percent off hotels around the world for stays through the end of October. We spied 40 percent off at the Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo (about 321 Euros a night), 30 percent off at the Hotel Crillon in Paris (still about 600 Euros) and 50 percent off at The Plaza Athenee in New York City (We saw rates for $460 in two weeks.)
Typically, we don't go crazy over "collections" of otherwise unaffiliated hotels as membership for these groups are often bought and there's not much scrutiny about whether the hotel is living up to its promises.
But when we were introduced to the Kiwi Collection, we were turned on by the idea that not only are these hotels not allowed to buy membership in, they can be removed instantly from the group once the Kiwi Collection sees the hotel not performing to its standards.
The Kiwi Collection, despite its name, is based in Vancouver with offices in Sydney and London (Kiwi was chosen as the name because it means the same thing in every language.) The collection describes its luxury collection of hotels as "created by consumers for consumers." The staff at Kiwi are constantly traveling the world, adding and removing hotels from their list.
Kiwi's reviewers do not pay for their rooms but they've developed a rigorous scoring system, which you can see here. Currently, the collection has over 2,100 hotels in 127 countries (most of these are luxury and design hotels) which is to put it simply, a hell of a lot.
But Kiwi maintains that each hotel has been "personally reviewed and vetted" before they extend an invite for the hotel to join their collection. Similarly, the hotel can be dropped if reviewers notice a downturn in service or accommodations.