Monday, November 29, 2010

Luxury Hotel Stays for Less This Winter

Some people shy away from luxury hotel stays especially during the winter season holidays because they feel it will be very expensive, but there's a secret that people who enjoy staying at luxury resorts won't spill. Winter is a perfect season to enjoy a luxury hotel stay - you just have to pick the right winter destination!

In a recent feature on MSNBC, experts discussed some of the best places to vacation in luxury this winter. The best part about linking up with a travel consultant like those on our staff is that you'll be able to score better deals from the same places recommended by MSNBC. Time to browse, make your selection, and get special offers through

Terranea Resort: This southern California luxury hotel is actually a stretch of Mediterranean estate on 102 acres, which means that you certainly won't be room-bound on a city block if you select this option. With villas, casitas, and bungalows for guests, the Terranea is a stunning hotel that also affords multiple options for traveler. MSNBC points out that this location offers great promotions, too.

The Signature at MGM Grand: Sales are just part of the value at The Signature at MGM Grand. Just because you can get a great price on a room and outstanding service doesn't mean that it's worth booking right away: this hotel also has a private gated entrance and is still perfectly situated to take advantage of the Las Vegas Strip action. As MSNBC's source pointed out, “The excess of 5-star rooms in Las Vegas creates great values. December is a win-win for the consumer in terms of seasonal demand.”

One and Only Ocean Club, Bahamas: Can't decide between a Parisian jaunt and a trip in the Bahamas? The One and Only Ocean Club has gardens inspired by those at Versailles, but it's perched on the beach, with views to spare. Expect a stunningly appointed room when you stay at the One and Only Ocean Club, and perks at this hotel include activity credits and a free round of golf.

Cotton House Hotel: If you happen to be a sucker for fancy surroundings with a historical past, the Caribbean's Cotton House is for you. Built in the 1700s, this fully renovated luxury location flaunts beautiful beaches nearby, plenty of activities for guests, and a number of plunge pools. “The Grenadines is a great choice for an off-the-beaten path, authentic experience,” MSNBC points out.

Las Vegas at this time of year doesn't sound like it's for everyone, but when you're in your 5-star hotel room with a view of the grandeur, you could change your mind about spending your winter shoveling snow. Not a gambler? Go beachside instead for less this Winter!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What to Buy a World Traveler for Christmas

The holiday gift-buying crunch is on, and that means we're all stocking up on gifts... or at least, we should be. Travel-loving individuals are often the type who like convenience and seem to already have everything they want, making them more difficult to shop for than you first expect. The one thing that everyone loves, whether they are staying at a luxury hotel luxury hotel or even a camping site, is something that makes their travel go more smoothly.

Thankfully, enough people struggle with buying presents for luxury-loving gadget fiends that lists have been compiled for our ease. These tips should get you shopping for conversation-worthy pieces that make any globetrotter grin.

Consider noise-canceling products. Noise-canceling earbuds, like the Shure se535s, are a dream on a plane, in any class seats. Just because someone's sitting in first on the way to the beach doesn't mean they're not hearing others' loud travel talk! Give them the present of a few quality hours of sleep on the plane.

Get products that bring home to the traveler. Some travelers like to experience brand-new every day, but when something goes wrong, a quick comforting reminder of the home base is welcome. Consider buying a satellite travel radio to give someone who's prone to missing home or who is a first-time traveler, like the Tivoli version that's water-resistant. It also would work well for sports fans who really want to catch the game, or someone who likes to listen to local music when they're on the move.

Buy something for the travel-curious as well. Maybe the person you're shopping for loves luxury and longs to be on the move, but hasn't had the opportunity to visit anywhere yet. There's a talking globe by Pylones that actually tells you about specific cities when you press them, so you can choose the next destination to explore: London, Moscow, Bora Bora?

Look at footwear options for anyone who doesn't have a plane “routine.” While some of us have circulation-aiding socks and perfect slippers for the plane, others could do with cozy footwear for the long haul. Take a look at sheepskin or microfiber slippers lined in something deep and soft, plus a pair of socks made for the plane.

And while you're at it? Consider getting yourself something as well. Our Exclusive Complimentary Perks are an added value at our collection of luxury hotels, but the pampering doesn't have to end there.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Le Royal Monceau: A New Gem in Paris

It took two years for Le Royal Monceau, Raffles Paris to renovate completely and open its doors this October. The collection of hotel suites and private apartments is flanked by restaurants, bars, a kids room, a spa, and a 3D cinema, and the hotel is once again one of the best hotels in Paris.

If you want to thank someone for getting Le Royal Monceau back on its feet and more than well again, that would be Philippe Starck. Splashes of red create a truly luxurious sentiment in the Raffles Paris location, and it's been said that Starck's “attempt” (in reality, much more than that) is “artistic, delicate, open, poetic.”

The story of Le Royal Monceau has been a complex one, considering that its opening directly preceded the American Depression, and the hotel was even requisitioned during World War II. However, popular since day one, the imposing stone structure has housed a huge number of notable individuals, and not solely movie stars and actors. King Forouk of Egypt, Aga Khan, Joseph Kessel, Michael Jackson, Robert De Niro, and Madonna were all guests at this historical destination where luxury accommodations are top priority.

Even the grandest of hotels needs some help from time to time, and Le Royal Monceau's received an above,above-and-beyond facelift that puts many other “European style” renovations to shame. Clusters of chandeliers draped in crystal and tiny lampshades play against a patterned floor, while suites' deep hotel tubs sits amidst dazzling mirrored walls and marble floors. More magnetic still are the suite bedrooms, with soothing wall colors, fabulous linens, and windows letting in abundant light. If you could clear your schedule for a day in Paris and lounge around the hotel, there's no way you could pass up the opportunity particularly with our Exclusive Complimentary Perks just for the booking.

Peering out on the geometrically-pleasing greenery in the courtyard, you'll feel a new calm come over you. If you have ever tried to brave traffic at the Arc de Triomphe, then you know how important this is. Le Royal Monceau doesn't just provide luxury accommodations, but ones that balance art with a comforting, cocoon-like atmosphere.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peninsula Beverly Hills

Some people feel as though they can simply sign onto any price comparison site and get a great deal on their accommodation. If you bid on a hotel in your price range, however, you won't know which one it is until you've already been permanently assigned. If you use this method, how will you ever become acquainted with highly rated luxury hotels like Peninsula Beverly Hills?

If you live on the East Coast—or in the northern, southern, or midwestern states for that matter—you should plan at least one trip to the West Coast in your lifetime. See the Hollywood sign, take the Walk of Fame, and shop on Rodeo Drive—and stay somewhere where you can soak up the glamour and the service to which any celebrity quickly becomes accustomed.

What makes Peninsula Beverly Hills stand out? The location is as advantageous as the interior is richly furnished, but the environment is far from stuffy. The spa isn't simply a place to relax and receive beneficial wellness treatments: it was named the leading urban spa for service and the second for treatments in all of the United States. There's the massage services, body treatments, and nail suites to keep you busy, but that's only if you can leave your hotel room. With a 24-hour check-in, you can arrive whenever you'd like, quickly settling into a room that flaunts classic Renaissance design with all the modern touches. If you're looking for a larger space to call home at Peninsula Beverly Hills, there are also 16 Garden Villa Suites tastefully tucked away.

And then there are the unexpected perks to consider. Many people who travel have extreme difficulty finding an animal-friendly location to suit their needs. Even if you can find a spot that accepts your dogs, there are often restrictions and many fees. The Peninsula has no size-restriction policy in their hotel regulations, so you can bring your best friend along with your family.

And the icing on the cake? Rolls Royce house cars. In fact, when you book one of the luxurious hotel suites, you will receive the use of a Rolls Royce for the duration of your stay. While you'll undoubtedly have ideas about things you want to do, let us pose just a few suggestions. Drive to Santa Monica to enjoy the new wheels and stop by Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, boutiques, the beach, and plenty of great restaurants. On another day trip, consider taking the Pacific Coast Highway to enjoy classic Californian views.

If this property sounds right to you, then we know exactly where to book Peninsula Beverly Hills to get Exclusive Complimentary Perkswhile doing so. Enjoy it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Allure of the Seas has got that Oprah !

Oprah loves cruise ships, and she shared her new favorite, the Allure of the Seas, on her recent Ultimate Favorite Things list. What's not to love about a floating five-star luxury hotel? If someone knows luxe, it's Oprah, and there are even special deals for the Allure of the Seas going on as we write.

Oprah gave Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas seven-day cruise packages to her viewers on last Friday's studio audience giveaway, rounding the package out with other gifts like cashmere sweaters, diamond-studded watches, five-year Netflix subscriptions, Nikon cameras, and custom-built closets. After presenting trips on the world's largest cruise ship, Oprah said to the audience "Cruising, of course, is one of my favorite things. And you are going to have the time of your lives."

So what makes Allure of the Seas so special? The boat might have capacity to carry over 5,000 passengers, but reviews quickly demonstrate that specialty service is brought to each and every person. There is an astonishing choice of 37 cabins on the boat, including balcony suites and eight-person family suites. And those "balcony suites"? They overlook a "central park" area filled with live greenery, great for people trying out their sea legs for the first time.

While paying customers haven't taken their first voyage, the press was already invited to have a spin around the ocean on the 225,282-ton ship. Their notes? We've summarized some of the high points for your browsing pleasure, but to sum it up, this luxury cruise ship has it all!

*The DreamWorks parade streams through the Royal Promenade with colorful costumes and music galore, and you can even see the Kung-Fu Panda himself. It's surprisingly popular with adults, so if you have kids, it'll be even better.

*The chef at the top Allure of the Seas' restaurant, 150 Central Park, is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and spent hours dreaming up and testing recipes. Crispy Duck Cigar? Shellfish Bloody Mary? The six-course set menu is just as luxurious as the meals we'd find in a fine hotel's restaurant.

*The Amber Theatre presents Chicago with a full orchestra and a great cast on the Allure of the High Seas. If you were trying to choose between a New York vacation and a relaxing cruise, then you'll have the best of both worlds.

*Just some of the extra cruise features include the Royal Promenade's Cupcake Cupboard, a tropical garden called the "Neighborhood," plenty of in-room iPod docks, a Coach store, a wine and tapas bar, and the Aquatheatre.

Don't you wish you were on the first Allure of the Seas trip on December 1st? If you're dreaming of a vacation at sea, the Allure of the Seas sounds like a magnificent ship to sail on. Just don't forget your camera, whatever you do! It sounds like Oprah's gift recipients will have their new Nikon to take along, but you can bring your trusty digital along instead.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Savoy Hotel Unveiled

If you're a lover of all things posh, then you very well may have been waiting for the Savoy to finally complete their thorough renovation. Extending the renovation by one and a half years, the Savoy London was worth the wait. Not only is the hotel restored to turn-of-the-last-century design aesthetics, but it is green and energy-clean: in fact, it's now one of the most energy-efficient hotels in the world.

Much of the Savoy's intense effort for earth-friendliness goes on behind the scenes, making it necessary to read up on the changes before enjoying the features and service in one of their well-appointed luxury rooms. The staff members are active participants in the hotel's day-to-day green functions and features, including recycling all paper, using hybrid vehicles for hotel operations and guest transfers, and monitoring heat and light usage.

"We don't want this to be 'in your face.' It is deliberately understated. We are the only five-star hotel doing environmental work at this level, so if a potential guest is interested in that, then I can't see why they would not come to the Savoy," the hotel's "Green Team" chief Debra Patterson told The New York Times' ClimateWire.

Then there are the more expensive, drastic changes: a combined heat/power plant in the building provides half of the hotel's requirements on its own, while heat collected from appliances in the kitchen in turn heats the hotel's water. Low-energy lights are installed throughout the building, and even the cooking oil is converted to biodiesel.

Interested in the Savoy London? This 1889 hotel stands alone in green accommodations and is an icon in its own right. The magnificent hotel has 268 rooms, but 9 of those are exclusive suites that have been decorated with high-profile guests in mind. With a range of room prices, this hotel allows for luxury stays that range from elegant to fit for a king. The choice is yours, but remember that there will be a mad dash on room reservations at Savoy because it is all the rage now for those who want the best luxury hotel in London.

President Obama's Vacation Days Examined

Did President Obama spend an unusual number of days in luxury accommodation his first year of presidency? The press has made quite a fuss about President Obama's vacation days, but one expert states that his schedule is nothing unusual. In fact, in his first year of presidency, President Obama took less days off than President Ronald Regan, George W. Bush, and George H. W. Bush, while taking more days off than President Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

CBS News Correspondent Mark Knoller has created a list of every president's vacation days since Gerald Ford, but he's quick to point out that no matter how many days a president stays away from the White House, he never sheds his responsibilities as the U.S. leader.

"The job - and its awesome powers and responsibilities - is his wherever he is and whatever he’s doing,” Knoller told

And now, for the rundown of presidential holidays in their first year, starting with present day: President Obama took 26 days of vacation, according to Knoller, with the following destinations:

  • An eight-day stay at Martha's Vineyard in August, where he stayed in a rented house with his family.
  • A four-day holiday weekend in Chicago near Valentine's Day, where President Obama took the First Lady out to dinner.
  • An 11-day stay in Hawaii, where President Obama celebrated the year's end.

In the tally game, President Regan took off 42 days of vacation, while George W. Bush took 69 days off to spend at his Texas ranch. George H.W. Bush took about 40 days off during his first year, but he didn't go to Texas—he spent his time in Kennebunkport, Maine. President Carter took 19 days off, while President Clinton took off 21. Interestingly, Knoller points out that President Obama made 11 trips to Camp David, the presidential retreat, but that those days are not considered vacation days. Even if the total 27 days were included in President Obama's tally, President George W. Bush made 25 trips to the same location for a total of 78 days.

Despite rumors, it looks like President Obama's vacation days have been completely within normal expectations, but he spent smaller bursts of time in varied places. We like the idea of shorter, more frequent vacations, so that people can try out more luxury hotels and Exclusive Complimentary Perks in one year. As they say, variety's the spice of life, and we think that applies to vacations, too.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Body Scammers

When body scan images were first obtained, many people believed the leaked pictures to be those from the “naked scanners,” the original machines that kicked up a strong debate about how and when security scanners should be used. U.S. Marshals saved 35,000 images in one courthouse machine, prompting website Gizmodo to make a Freedom of Information Act request and receive a collection of the saved images.

The good news? The saved scans look like cotton-candy men, soft and distorted. The bad news? The machines weren’t supposed to be saving the images in the first place. Gizmodo writer Joel Johnson pointed out that the more invasive scanner systems using high-fidelity x-rays are also in use, and now it’s being researched whether or not those machines can save images like the “less embarrassing” machines.

No matter where you stand on the issue, it’s important to note that the body scanner debate isn’t over. There’s no doubt that procedures and regulations will become standardized and safer, although those against body scanning might feel less inclined to fly right now.

No problem--there are plenty of renowned hotels in your backyard. Take a sleeper train, load up the car, or book a hotel room in the next city over, because these hotels definitely provide the luxury of a far-off vacation without the airport fuss. Plus, all of the hotels suggested below have Exclusive Complimentary Perks as part of a reservation across our website

Hotels in the Northeast
Taj Boston: This classic Boston hotel opened its doors in 1927 and overlooks the Public Garden. In the heart of the city, the Taj is surrounded by sights to see and things to do.
InterContinental The Barclay New York: This restored Federal-style hotel is perfectly situated for easy access to must-see New York attractions, and some rooms boast living rooms and marble bathrooms.

Hotels in the South
W Atlanta Midtown: Southern hospitality at its best meets 21st-century convenience in the W, flanked by Atlanta's Miracle Mile and Piedmont Park. Look into the Whatever/Wherever service while staying.
Windsor Court Hotel: Located two blocks from the French Quarter, the Windsor Court hotel has the distinction of receiving Forbes Four Stars and AAA's Four Diamonds. Why not stay in the only hotel in Louisiana to receive both honors?

Hotels on the West Coast
Hotel Vitale: This urban getaway is perched on San Francisco's waterfront: don't forget to book some time at the penthouse level of Spa Vitale!
The Edgewater: Parked right on Pier 67, the Edgewater provides both unparalleled views and service. After getting a glimpse of Seattle skyline, head down to restaurant Six Seven for grilled goodness.

Midwest Hotels
Swissotel Chicago: Going on a working vacation? Spread it out on the oversized executive desk in your hotel room before going out on the town. The Swissotel flaunts 40 suites in several different styles, so you can rest assured that your room will suit your taste.
The Peninsula Chicago: This Magnificent Mile hotel is situated right by Lake Michigan and Michigan Avenue, and you'll never run out of dining options when you stay in this centrally-located spot.

If you’d like to find a hotel even closer to home, then the's luxury hotels collection is your next stop. You can browse hotels by state and find the perfect luxe hotel for your next break.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Summer in London, Just Like the Royals

Bookies are now shelling out thousands of pounds for 5-to-1 bets that Kate Middleton and Prince William would be engaged this month, but they're in the minority when it comes to sour feelings about the engagement. After the initial press release and interviews, congratulations came pouring in for this lucky young couple. The Queen said she was pleased, Prince Charles sounded relieved, and Prince Harry ecstatic about gaining a sister. Step-mother Camilla Parker Bowles livened things up by calling the engagement "wicked" and "brilliant."

With the royal wedding slated for summer 2011 and an avalanche of press coming Prince William and Kate Middleton’s way, we’re hardly surprised that London luxury hotels are getting stepped up a notch. While Kate's flashing her sapphire engagement ring, people are already abuzz with speculation about Middleton's dress, the venue, the honeymoon, and Prince William's best man. Suffice it to say, these two are going to have their hands full when it comes to planning the wedding of the century, but they’re not going to do it alone. So why should you when it comes to travel planning, booking, arranging, and organizing?

You probably don’t have a special title like Prince William, but you can still vacation like someone who does. Take Four Seasons London at Park Lane, where you get excellent accommodations, plus some Exclusive Complimentary Perks. Coming off an extensive multi-million pound restoration, the new surroundings will stun you before the service does. Since all of London's major museums are free (barring some special exhibits), you can easily go from this centrally-located hotel to the Tate Modern, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Museum of London for a dose of royal-approved culture. Take afternoon tea at the hotel after seeing the sights, and taste the crumpets, scones, clotted creams, and pound cake during the memorable feast!

If you prefer a more secluded spot, the Flemings Mayfair is an excellent match. It is considered one of the best-kept secrets in Central London, and it has a special kind of service that makes people feel as if they’re “coming home” when they show up. Of course, that home you have doesn’t offer Exclusive Complimentary Perks, which is a reason to come to London in 2011. As one regular guest said about the Mayfair, “One is scooped up by a genuinely warm and friendly welcome, created by the delightful staff and the charming atmosphere. One is immediately put at ease and has a tremendous sense of belonging.”

No matter who you are, if you go to London in summer 2011, you can stay in a hotel that leaves you feeling both pampered and important...without all the pressure of being a royal. It's a sweet compromise, and one that couldn't be accomplished without those exclusive perks through

Friday, November 5, 2010

South Beach Wine & Food Festival with Food Network

We’re delighted to announce the next Food Network Travel Package to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBE) is now available exclusively through WhataHotel!
The first of these “by-invitation-only” packages were very popular and sold out quickly.

A limited number of these exclusive packages are available, which provide our clients with special access to the SOBE Wine & Food Festival events. The exclusive package includes two nights at either The Albion, a chic and small hotel or The Tides offering luxurious ocean view studio suites and other perks! Both hotels are walking distance to all package events.

By purchasing the package offering, you will enjoy speed line/early access to select events, reserved seating at Paula Deen’s Gospel Bruch, as well as exclusive experiences ONLY available to other guests who purchased the package. The package also includes tickets to four festival events as well as a private Food Network Travel Reception hosted by celebrity chef Aarti Sequeira, recent winner of Next Food Network Star and host of Food Network’s Aarti Party. This package also features an intimate 30 minute meet and greet with Duff Goldman prior to the "Best Thing I Ever Ate: event. This reception and meet and greet is ONLY available to those who purchase our Food Network Travel package!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Exclusives from Greg's List

All at What a Hotel! are delighted to present you with another edition of "Exclusives from Greg's List".

By checking our Blog frequently, you'll see a new "List of Exclusives" each month.

You'll also be able to find "Exclusive from Greg's List" on Facbook by joining our Group. Just click here and on the resulting page, click JOIN. By becoming a member of our group on facebook, you'll...

- See very Special Offers
- See New Exclusive Promotions
- Receive customized Facebook Fan notices
- Get chances to win free stays on special drawings
- Get ideas of what other well-connected travelers are up to

And if you're not a Facebook member yet, you'll be able to sign up once and for all to connect with us, find all your long lost friends, see their photos and do all the other things that make Facebook all the rage.