Shermans Travel » Blog » Smart Luxury
You know you can ask the concierge to arrange a jeep tour or recommend a local restaurant. But did you know they’ll also hunt down the perfect souvenir or replace those dress slacks you forgot to pack while you lounge by the pool?
Most concierges want to do whatever it takes to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable. The best part is that the concierge’s time and expertise is usually complimentary, though you’ll of course be charged for items and services purchased on your behalf. Gratuities aren’t mandatory but are always appreciated (a simple thank you in person or a sincere email when you return home go a long way, too).
Here, some surprising requests that you can ask of your concierge:
When you’re on vacation, the restaurants where you choose to dine can be as much a part of your experience as your hotel, or the sites you visit. If you’re heading to Los Angeles’s Beverly Hills neighborhood and want to splurge on a meal that truly suits the neighborhood’s ambiance, try the local outpost of Hakkasan. With locations in such far-flung locations as Dubai, Mumbai, and Las Vegas, the restaurants are known as much for their low-lit, dark-wood interiors and chichi clientele as for high-end Chinese cuisine.
Open since October of 2013, EK Hotel is a modern boutique hotel in one of Bogotá’s ritziest neighborhoods. Within a few minutes’ walk, you’ll find restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and shopping; especially centered around Calle 85, the T-Zone neighborhood, and the tree-lined plaza called Parque 93. Even closer, there are a few restaurants that share a plaza with the hotel, such as the newly opened Black Bear, recommended for its raw bar, sharing plates, and craft cocktails. However, with the on-site Cafe Bar Lounge serving all day, you don’t need to leave the hotel for a meal or drink.
New York City’s annual Hotel Week started in 2011 with a simple premise: Offer great hotels for $100, $200, or $300 per night — in many cases, a substantial savings off typical rates. It’ll be happening again this year in January, but, before that, Los Angeles travelers will get their own opportunity to save on some excellent hotels.
Who doesn’t love looking at photos of beautiful hotels? OK, maybe lots of people don’t, but our travel-addicted selves definitely do. Case in point, we’re loving these new shots of the remodeled Sunset Marquis in Los Angeles. This classic hotel is known as a haven for celebs — especially musicians. (Harry Connick Jr. met his wife by the pool. Dave Grohl met his by the bar.)
Switzerland’s Hotel Palafitte lays claim to an unusual distinction: it is the only hotel in Europe built on stilits — an architectural detail more commonly associated with the Indian and Pacific oceans. More than mere novelty, the stilts are an architectural design meant to enhance the surrounding views. The luxury boutique property, a member of Preferred Hotel Group, was built as part of Switzerland’s 2002 National Exposition and consists of 40 spacious private bungalows, twenty-six of which are called “Lake Pavilions” and situated lakeside and built directly over Lake Neuchâtel in Romandie, the French-speaking area in western Switzerland. Read more
As much as we appreciate hotel loyalty programs, accumulating points from just one hotel brand can feel like quite a slog, and a little uninspiring — who, besides the very frequent business traveler, wants the same brand experience each and every time they check in?
Just over a year ago, Preferred Hotel Group introduced a loyalty program, iPrefer, that honors stays at the more custom, bespoke hotels over the big box brands; it’s the world’s only loyalty program available at a global collection of truly independent hotels. Here’s how it works, and how you can join.
The Morgans Hotel Group, which offers a spate of stylish, upscale properties around the world, is in the midst of some major expansion. The Mondrian London at Sea Containers is set to open September 30, followed by the Mondrian Doha, and the Mondrian Istanbul. The hotel group is also preparing to open their Delano brand in Las Vegas this fall, followed by Cesme, Turkey; Moscow; and Cartagena; then another in Karaköy, Istanbul. With all this new activity in mind, we took a step back to see how their second Mondrian property, in South Beach, Miami, which opened way back in 2008, is holding up.
Who doesn’t love a new hotel pool, especially when it’s on the 52nd floor of a luxury hotel in one of our favorite cities in the world — London?
The Skypool at the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard just opened, and we’re swooning. Not only is it the highest pool in Western Europe, it also offers views of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye, and it’s heated.
The Omni Hotels and Resorts brand launched a 72-hour sale this morning, which means the clock is ticking if you want to take advantage it. Until midnight on Thursday, August 21, the brand’s Labor Day Special is offering rooms for $99, $119, $139, $169, $199, and $229 in select cities for stays from August 24 through September 7. Just in time for a last-minute Labor Day weekend getaway.
Sample rates include $199 at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, which, with its paddle boarding, golfing, island hoppers, and Segways, makes for a great family getaway; $119 at Omni Rancho Palmas in Palm Springs, and $159 at Omni New Haven at Yale – handy for parents dropping their children off for the start of the school year. To get that attractive $99 rate, you can head south to steamy Texas where, at Omni Fort Worth Hotel, you can cool off in their rooftop pool.
It’s not uncommon for upscale hotels and resorts to offer guests extraordinary excursions and activities, but Four Seasons takes it to a whole new level. From dining center stage at a historic opera house to designing a custom pair of Lucchese boots, here are a few exclusive Four Seasons that we love dreaming about.
I traveled to Vienna this year to attend the Life Ball, the largest fundraiser for AIDS research in the world. The event is televised on Austrian TV and is notable for the procession of elaborately costumed partygoers walking the red carpet to the ornate City Hall. This year’s event included President Clinton, Ricky Martin, and Conchita Wurst, the Austrian drag queen who won this year’s Eurovision song contest.
We’re into our last few weeks of summer, but before you start dusting off your coats and settling in for the winter, let’s wrap up the season in style with one last go around of all the things that make a New York summer great.
I have been to Budapest several times and, on each visit, I adore staying at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace. In the off-season (winter, or shoulder season in fall or early spring), rates are quite reasonable relative to other 5-star properties in Paris, London, or New York City. (Think $280-$320 per night, compared with $500+.) The Gresham Palace is, in many ways, in a league of its own when it comes to Budapest’s hotel offerings. In fact, it was just named the number three hotel in the world in Travel + Leisure‘s 2014 World Best Awards. The majestic old-world structure was originally designed to be an insurance company before it became a hotel.
On August 15, the Panama Canal, which unites the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and is considered a feat of civil engineering, will celebrate its 100th birthday. Many cruise lines are offering centennial itineraries that are scheduled to pass through the 48-mile-long canal, but other travel companies are getting in on the celebrations, too. For its historical value, this package from the Waldorf Astoria is perhaps the most alluring. Read more
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