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Two hip hotels in Vancouver and New York City are offering guests special access to romance-dedicated staff this February. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, look to OPUS Vancouver’s Cupid Concierge, who’s tasked with bringing customized romantic experiences to guests on request – primed for those who could use a little help ramping up the romance department. Or, bunk down in NYC’s 70 park avenue, where an on-site Romance Sommelier is encouraging ladies to borrow from the British tradition of proposing to their fellas on Leap Day (February 29), with special month-long planning services available to help women pop the question in style. Read more
Two Ritz-Carlton properties have rolled out some sweet-sounding (and free!) amenities for travelers looking to squeeze every last drop out of their vacation experience – quite literally! Guests at the Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach, Florida, can have their fruit juice dreams whipped up courtesy of the hotel’s newly appointed Citrus Sommelier (pictured at left), who will be serving up juices, smoothies, and fruit juice cocktails at the resort’s Sunday brunch. Or, look to the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas, in the U.S.V.I., where guests can handpick fruits on the resort’s 30 fruit-spouting acres of lush tropical goodness. The property’s Garden Concierge is on hand to crack open coconuts for guests on the spot for a refreshing drink of coconut water, or guests can opt to hand-select fruits like papayas and mangoes, which can then be prepared for lip-smacking consumption by the on-site chefs at any hotel restaurant.
Ever thought of escaping to Puerto Rico for your magical day, soaking up the sunshine and unspoiled ocean views in five-star luxury? Hilton Worldwide has just debuted its new ‘Bride Whisperers’ program in five of its properties across the country, complementing an already impressive array of services provided to its guests.
Shopping in the city is hard work – who wants to carry all those bags? Avoid arm fatigue with Hotel Le Bristol’s (www.lebristolparis.com) fleet of two Smart cars, available as 3-hour rentals for just 10 euros. Though they only seat two passengers, the cute little autos pack plenty of trunk space for an afternoon shopping spree (unless of course you’re on the hunt for an antique armoire at the Paris flea markets). Plus, parking is a cinch. The Smart cars will be especially useful during the next soldes, the biannual sales; the summer soldes typically begin on the third Wednesday of June and last for six weeks. Guests can reserve a car through Le Bristol’s concierge desk.
Le Bristol is well-positioned for no-holds-barred shopping, with all the high-end stores (like Chanel and Hermès) that line the hotel’s Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré. For hip boutiques, head over to the Marais in the 4th Arrondissement. Two of our recent favorites for scoring pieces that would make any Parisian fashionista jealous are Maje (multiple locations, www.maje-paris.fr) and Beija (123 Rue Vieille du Temple, www.beija.fr).
For general trip-planning information, see our Paris Travel Guide.
Shelling out for kid care at a hotel is one of those inevitable costs that can add a significant chunk to your vacation bill and there’s nothing you can really do about it. Especially in a city like London, where grown-up fun (happening restaurants, brilliant theater) comes at a high cost anyway, paying for several nights of nanny care can really take its toll. Unless…you check into The Athenaeum
For a limited time, the luxe hotel in London’s Mayfair district is offering complimentary nanny service. And these aren’t just any nannies… Read more
Lounging by the pool or on the sand, where with one wave of the hand you can summon a chilled Chardonnay and club sandwich or a piña colada and nachos, is the ultimate state of vacation bliss. No matter where you are or how many stars the hotel has, I don’t think the transportive indulgence and pleasure of poolside service ever wears off.
And then there are the hotels that up this game with amenities to make the experience even more luxurious – and yes, make us all lazier in the process. But hey, it’s vacation. A crowning example is the sunglasses washing service offered by top-tier hotels such as Sandy Lane in Barbados, One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, and aboard SeaDream yacht cruises. That’s right, we’re talking about a poolside staff member (sometimes referred to as a sunglasses concierge) discreetly Windexing your shades free of charge. Totally unnecessary and over the top, but also kind of awesome at the same time.
What is this summer’s sunglasses concierge? I think I may have found the answer. Read more
New York’s landmark Plaza will be the first hotel to provide iPads with a new virtual concierge application (available in every room and suite come September 2010). The iPads – preloaded with newspapers, travel and business applications – will feature easy access (hello, touch screen) to services like ordering room service, making restaurant reservations, contacting the concierge, scheduling wake-up calls, printing boarding passes, and much more. A mobile version of the hotel’s virtual concierge application will also be available through iTunes for iPhone, Blackberry, and Andriod, so guests can get an early start on their travel plans or make arrangements while out on the town. Pretty sweet, huh? By the way, the Plaza currently offers iPads along with the morning (print) papers at the Palm Court.
For more trip-planning info, see our New York City Travel Guide.
There’s nothing worse than arriving at your hotel, opening your bag, and finding that your shampoo bottle has exploded, unless, of course, your prized possession was already confiscated by airport security because it was just over the 3.4-ounce regulation size. Suite Arrival, a new and unique concierge service, provides a solution to this toiletry-travel burden by delivering travel-sized products directly to your hotel room. With options ranging from luxury brands like Oscar Blandi and value brands like Garnier Fructis, customers traveling to any U.S. city (international service is set to start this year), for any purpose, are guaranteed to find products that suit them. Read more
Every dog will have a great day thanks to the new “Doggies Day Out” program at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Guests of the resort who miss their furry friends while on vacation will not only do good to walk a shelter dog from the local Humane Society of the Cayman Islands, but also get the chance to explore the property by walking the finely curated doggie paths around the Blue Tip Golf Course and the North Sound Club.
The program and walk, created by Marcus Caudill, housekeeping manager for the property, provides plenty of resting spots and shade along the way. Caudill is also the owner of “Charlie” an alumni of the local Humane Society chapter, and advises that guests sign up early to reserve a dog walking spot.
The Stafford London by Kempinski is one of our favorite hotels in London: the St. James location (within walking distance of St. James’s Park and Buckingham Palace) is perfect and the elegant décor a flawless mix of contemporary conveniences and traditional style. But what truly sets the hotel apart is the staff, who specializes in a rare brand of unstuffy-but-spot-on service (the head concierge, Frank Laino, is as good as they come).
To wit, the hotel’s latest amenity, the Baggage Emergency Response Squad, is both exactly what you want and just a bit whimsical. The squad works to ameliorate that most pesky of travel problems: luggage lost on the flight over. Read more
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