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Some hotel amenities are silly, some are stylish, some are gimmicky and some are over-the-top awesome. And then there are those that you’d take any day over six sessions with a pet psychic–that is, amenities that are supremely practical.
For the millions of Americans who suffer from dust and chemical allergies (or are just plain sensitive to either) traveling and staying in hotels can be a huge headache, as we expose our systems to new environments whose elements we can’t control. To some a fluffy feather comforter is heaven–to others, it means a sneezefest. The Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile is paying attention.
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
Enjoy a “peachy” vacation in Hotlanta through August 31 and stay at the Glenn Hotel, a downtown boutique property, where you’ll be showered with extras that are only available to ShermansTravel.com readers! For a measly *$259/night, or 32 percent off standard rates, the Glenn Hotel will upgrade you to a 450-square-foot one-bedroom Dream Suite ($100 value), as well as provide you with breakfast for two, and free valet parking.
THE VALUE: This value-packed deal also includes two tickets to the Georgia Aquarium and one 55-minute guided walking tour with behind-the-scenes views of Atlanta’s CNN studios, as well as a glimpse of news and broadcasting in action from the world headquarters of CNN (normally $26/ticket).
The editors at Sherman’s Travel sat down and thought long and hard about what U.S. cities just don’t get enough credit. After much debate, the votes were casted and the results are in for the Top Ten Most Underrated Cities in America. One city that made the cut was Houston, and now the Sheraton Suites Houston near the Galleria has crafted a way for visitors to see what all the fuss is about with a City Pass hotel package priced from just $115/night. This special offer is valid for arrivals on Thursdays through Sundays, and includes four complimentary City Pass booklets – granting admission to six of Houston’s premier attractions.
THE VALUE: You’ll pay $36 less than regular room rates (which check in at $151/night), but the real icing on the cake is the incredible savings from the City Pass booklet – a whopping $140! Choose from the Museum of Fine Arts, the Downtown Aquarium, the Space Center, the Houston Zoo, and many other options.
While the slick Cooper Square Hotel is no gritty downtown club and many young bands now play their first shows in Brooklyn instead of the East Village, the hotel is paying homage to the neighborhood’s music legacy by starting its own concert series. As part of the hotel’s new monthly Annie. O Music Series, The Cooper Square has opened the usually private penthouse suite to host an intimate and rare concert experience to hotel guests and the public (on a first-come, first-serve basis). With the sun setting over the Manhattan skyline, concertgoers can mingle on the wraparound terrace and ogle over the 360-degree skyline views from the 21st floor.
Named for and curated by Annie Ohayon (former music publicist for big time names like Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, and Pearl Jam ), musicians such as John Forte, formerly of The Fugees and the indie rock power trio Bipolar Explorer have already performed, and singer-songwriter Zack Glass, son of composer Philip Glass is slated for Thursday, March 25th (doors 7pm, performance 8pm). While these concerts are a far cry from the CBGB-era shows, the combination of free tunes and amazing views seems like an ideal way to start a downtown evening.
Details: The Cooper Square Hotel Penthouse; 25 Cooper Square (3rd Avenue between 5th & 6th Streets); www.thecoopersquarehotel.com; www.myspace.com/zackglassmusic
On March 11, the Lone Star State’s capital birthed one of the city’s newest flagship hotels: The Westin Austin at The Domain. Celebrate the grand-opening of this first-class hotel with low nightly rates starting from $159/night on Friday and Saturdays through December 31 (and don’t worry, the Texas Longhorn won’t rain on your parade). Plus, guests will also receive complimentary daily breakfast for two.
To book, visit www.starwoodhotels.com, or call 1-866-716-8137 and mention promo code LAPKG2.
About the Hotel: Besides the fresh, new carpet smell, this stylish hotel offers guests a heated outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, as well as comfy accommodations complete with LCD flat-panel televisions and plush linens. In terms of location, the Westin Austin at The Domain is adjacent to high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Company, and Louis Vuitton, and is only a few miles from the raucous downtown nightlife scene.
To many New Yorkers who lived in and around ground zero those nine years ago or to those who lost friends or family in the attacks (and even to those who didn’t), the concept behind the area’s newest hotel (built across from where the World Trade Center once stood) seems fairly crass. It’s all about 9/11 at the strategically named World Center Hotel, and the hotel’s marketing team has no qualms about using its memorial-side location to attract tourists; its website tastefully describes its position as “at the forefront of the World Trade Center’s revitalization and resurgence.” Yes, most coming to New York make it a point to visit ground zero to pay their respects, but do they really want to stay in a room that offers floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the 16 acres where the towers fell (now an active and noisy construction site)? Well, the folks behind the Word Center Hotel are banking that they do. It’s a morbid marketing maneuver for sure but perhaps being close to the site is what some people need to remember, to recover. There are several other area hotels, although, that offer similar “stirring” views but have not thought of their vistas as a selling point. Maybe they are late on the uptake?
What do you think? Is it too much too soon? Or is the World Center Hotel just trying to make the best of its neighborhood and its upcoming revitalization?
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