LE Miami Travel Show Redefines Contemporary Travel Market

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The Limited Edition Miami travel show, put on by Beyond Luxury Media, just concluded its second consecutive year and did so with a splash. For those in the travel industry know, this is not just another trade show. LE Miami … Continue reading

ACE HOTEL DTLA: A Modern Interpretation


The ACE Hotel downtown Los Angeles is the latest in the ongoing revitalization of the south side of the flourishing and exciting developments in DTLA.

Less than one year old the hotel is virtually brand new and is currently undergoing  hotspot status in the perpetually evolving historic core.

Most notable is the fact that the hotel was originally built as the United Artists Building in 1927. It was the flagship theater of a chain that would become the largest in America. The modern design team has beautifully restored much of the original architectural features and added modern design that naturally blends in with the old.

The rooms are adequate, modern yet cozy. The suites are spacious, some equipped with turntables, records and guitars, the perfect elements for an impromptu soiree.

The rooftop bar and pool make for a spectacular place from which to admire the beautifully detailed design of the original tower up close, especially when lit up at night. With a rotating roster of DJ’s the ambiance is perfect for cocktails al fresco.

The ACE Hotel DTLA is an exciting addition to a revitalizing neighborhood. With a rooftop bar and pool, restaurant and adjacent United Artists theater, this property is sure to be a DTLA destination for some time.  At least until the next hotspot arrives.

 

ACE DTLA LobbyACE DTLA King



ACE DTLA

ACE DTLA Turntable

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ACE DTLA Master Tub

 

ACE Tower

 

The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, The Host of the Coast

Remembering the Millennium Biltmore Hotel of Los Angeles on this eve of the Academy Awards show of Hollywood, more commonly known as the Oscars.  In 1920 film making had become the largest local industry in the City of Angels. The hotel was one of the early homes of the awards ceremony, hosting it for a major part of the 1930’s and early 194o’s.

My Top 6 “Must-Have” Hotel Amenities

In my daily work life I help clients with their business travel; I get first hand reports on their likes, dislikes, the quirks and the nuances of their travel and what is important to them. In my personal/business playground (hooray for R & D) I aim to experience on behalf of my clients. It’s one thing to have an on-demand butler but I’m talking about some of the basic, must-haves we have come to expect as standard when staying at a hotel. For some it’s in-room coffee, for others the daily paper. Whether you are traveling for business or leisure, the hotel you sleep at can truly enhance your travel experience. Whoever said hotels don’t matter, “you’re hardly in the room” was wrong!

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 Here are my top 6 must-have hotel amenities.

6. Continental Breakfast:

This one receives an honorable mention because while it is a highly valued amenity, the reality is that many premium hotels do not offer a complimentary breakfast.

These days, we are lucky to pay for a good breakfast; on average $20 to $25 for a generous and delicious breakfast at a luxury hotel is fair.  But, unfortunately, many places fall short in this department. For this reason it is a notable plus when a property does offer a complimentary continental breakfast.  Even if a light meal of coffee, fruits and pastries, it certainly helps to get prepared for the day ahead.

5. In-room Digital Concierge:

You know, those multi-outlet devices equipped with USB plug-ins, usually formatted into a desk or nightstand, where you can plug in multiple devices at once? It’s a small detail but one that elevates the technological know-how and ability of a hotel. How many times have you checked into your room only to spend the first 10 minutes looking behind drapes, nightstands and headboards for the nearest place to charge your mobile phone, laptop or tablet? In an age of convenience, having your device charging within arm’s reach is one that is valued (especially if, like I do, you use the alarm clock on your mobile device!).

4. Bathrobe & Slippers:

This may not seem essential but think again. When you are pacing around your room getting ready to go out or stepping out of the shower, walking around on the cold bathroom tile, it’s nice to have slippers to keep your feet warm and clean. Likewise, the robe is a nice detail to keep you cozy in the usually cool, air-conditioned temps of a hotel room.  In a luxury hotel, lounging in the robe is an experience in itself!

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3. Gym on-site:

This is hugely important for many of my business travelers. Being frequently on-the-go makes staying fit and healthy a major challenge. Whether staying at a hotel for business or leisure, many guests appreciate the opportunity to squeeze in a workout when possible, even if an abbreviated session. Add fresh towels and water in the gym and you’ve got a major plus!

 

 

2. Complimentary Bottled Water:

Yes, it sounds simple. I believe this is an underrated amenity, one taken for granted. But for most travelers, it is hours from the time they actually get up, go to the airport, board a plane, factor in flying time and transport from the airport to the hotel; by the time we check into our rooms we are tired, spent and thirsty. When most hotels charge $5 to $10 for a bottle of water, it is remarkable and refreshing to find complimentary bottled water in a hotel room. In my book of travel, this a huge plus that never goes unnoticed.

1. Free WiFi:

My number one must-have! Some hotels do generously extend complimentary WiFi to their guests but it seems on average hotels charge $12 to $15 per day. Also trending is a tiered-service-plan in which guests can access basic service for free (good for checking social networks and email) while others requiring a greater bandwidth are charged a fee. This seems a little more reasonable for us social media geeks but when anyone can access free WiFi at the local coffee shop or public library, it is surprising this is not a standard guest amenity at most hotels. It should be, don’t you agree?

There you have it, my round-up of top, essential must-haves when lodging at a hotel, our “home away from home.”  What are your standards for hotel travel?

A Dazzling Jewel In The Heart of San Francisco: The Palace Hotel

This my personal review of the Palace Hotel in the financial district of San Francisco.

The Palace Hotel makes an astounding impression upon first sight. A grand lobby, high ceilings, and ornate decorative details tell of times long ago and instantly captivated me. Though the original 1875 Palace Hotel was damaged in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the “new” Palace Hotel was reborn only a few years later in 1909.

My room itself was an entry-level category and showed signs of wearing in the carpeting and bathroom; also, the internet was a bit unreliable, hugely important for travelers.  Nevertheless, overall I found it to be very spacious and comfortable. The bed was plush and dreamy, there was a soft robe in the bathroom and most impressive was the complimentary bottled waters.  When many hotels charge $5 to $10 per bottle, this is a huge plus in my book!

As I was traveling alone I decided to have a nightcap at the Pied Piper Bar, located right in the hotel.  This bar wonderfully compliments the rest of the hotel. There is a lounge of tables near the bar for those looking for an intimate drink, adjacent to the bar is another room for more lounging, dining and dancing. Lucky for me the Klipptones do a Swing Jazz night every Friday and were there on that night. I had a few relaxing glasses of wine while listening to the music and watching swingers dance, a perfect treat.  It was an adventure of an evening without even leaving the hotel! A win-win for a girl on the town on her own.

The Pied Pier Bar

The Pied Pier Bar

The Klipptones performing modern Swing Jazz

The Klipptones performing modern Swing Jazz

What are some of your must-have amenities when you check into a hotel?

Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, le chic c’est delicieux!

A step into the Avalon Hotel is a step back in time. The hotel’s unique design is true to its 1950’s beginnings, outfitted with luxe marble, mirrors, pale blues and grays. Recently renovated it offers all of the modern amenities travelers expect but with the retro chic inspired design of a classic era. 

Dining poolside

Dining poolside

Nestled along the borders of a quiet residential neighborhood in Beverly Hills, it is close enough in proximity to local shopping, restaurants and (for those looking for a night out on the town) the bustling nightlife of West Hollywood.

However, if you prefer a night in, the Oliverio Restaurant provides a unique dining experience right in the hotel. Whether in a cabana or at a poolside table, the dim lights and quiet setting make for an intimate dining experience. And the food is great. Homemade pastas (pappardelle con Ossobuco), hand tossed pizzas, fresh and local ingredients. If you’re a truffle lover do order the risotto al tartufo (you guessed it, truffle!), you will not be disappointed. Or the pizza salsiccia e tartufo.

Cauliflower souffle

Cauliflower souffle garnished with tartufo

My favorite? The luxurious cauliflower souffle. Velvety, smooth. Absolutely perfect, sinless decadence. The Oliverio Restaurant is worth a visit to the hotel alone. Book your night of nostalgic glamour today!

Mexico City in the Spring – One of Four Seasons

If you have never been to Mexico City I highly recommend it. Warm people, great food and much to see from Aztec ruins to modern art, the city offers something to satisfy any palette. The best part for me: it’s just a 3 hour flight from LAX!

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With the right planning it’s possible to enjoy the best even for those of us with more moderate budgets. During the spring the Four Seasons Hotel offered a “stay 2 nights get 1 free” package that made for a very reasonable average nightly rate. In addition, the Signature Travel Network offers guests (of select travel agencies only) bonus amenities such as complimentary upgrades (if available), free WIFI and $100 hotel credit , perfect for lunch al fresco in the lush courtyard or the fabulous breakfast buffet including a massive spread of fresh juices, traditional Mexican dishes, fresh fruits, pastries…you name it, the hotel provides it. 

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ImageThe last time I visited the city I stayed in a dorm room at a guest house run by Quakers. But that story will have to be for another time. If you have been there, how do you enjoy the city? Do you take the metro, taxis, buses?