Last weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting Delta Hotel Virginia Beach Bayfront Suites by Marriott, which underwent a two-year renovation and just re-opened to the public in March. When I arrived, the parking lot was bustling with travelers and I instantly had a feeling my stay was going to be great as many others chose this hotel above all others in the area.
Tucked away in the sleepy town of Concord, New Hampshire, The Centennial Hotel is the perfect place to rest your head after a long day of skiing or hiking on the nearby mountains. The gorgeous exterior of the 19th-century Victorian home is charming and inviting, opened in 1876. The hotel had many purposes throughout its years, serving as a group home for the elderly and a safe haven for women, among other uses.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: We drove from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., without a hitch in early October. In communication with the Conrad staff, I was directed to the CityCenter Garage, where I could park and recharge my car. It was right around the corner and convenient; from the garage it is a short walk to the front of the hotel. Check-in took place on the ground floor versus the lobby to reduce touch points during COVID-19. The staff politely greeted us and gave us our keys; I was in room 1027. From the ground floor we took the elevator to the lobby level and transferred to the elevator bank to the rooms.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: We arrived at the Meadowbrook Inn around 2 p.m., before check-in time, but I checked at the desk to see if our room happened to be ready ahead of schedule. It wasn’t quite ready yet, but they offered to give me a call when it was all set. So we decided to take a short drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Grandfather Mountain for a nice, scenic hike on this beautiful fall day.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Florence, South Carolina, is well-known to travelers driving from the Northeast to Florida as the halfway point off of I-95. After researching, it looked like this property had a good track record for those traveling with pets, so I called and spoke with Hyatt reservations to book and secure the details. The fee for the two dogs traveling with us, Ella and Beau, was $75 for both. On the receipt, the charge was referred to as a Pet Cleaning Fee. When I made the reservation, I received a discounted World of Hyatt member rate. They did tell me the dogs were not allowed in the restaurants, and I said that was sad as Beau likes to pony up to the bar. The reservationist thought that was funny.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: After a revamped and reduced (but still perfect!) wedding and ceremony Aug. 15, my new husband and I decided to take a mini-moon to the Jersey shore. Like most of your 2020 travels, our honeymoon to South Africa has been indefinitely postponed, so we traded Cape Town for Cape May and made the best of it. As Cape May is known for its Victorian influences and bed and breakfasts, we wanted to try a B&B. After much research, we found the perfect blend of modernity and tradition at Pharos at The Harrison.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: After visiting Sayula’s beloved Jugo factory, a grass-roots cajeta de leche (think dulce de leche) candy-making factory — employing a majority of the town’s residents and pleasing milk candy lovers of Jalisco — I was ready to drop my bags and come down from my sugar rush at the hotel. Cornering half the market on tourist-ready accommodations in Sayula, Jalisco, the Gran Casa Sayula entrance welcomes guests with a splash of colorful tiles, rich paintings and heavy furniture.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Located at Hollywood and Vine, the W Hollywood sits in the heart of an iconic and bustling neighborhood. Upon entering the lobby, you immediately escape the outside distractions and focus on the possibilities the W offers. After a long, early-morning flight, we arrived at the W earlier than check-in time, but the friendly front desk staffer found two rooms for us. He briefed us on the hotel as he sped through the process and sent us on our way.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: We arrived about the time everyone else was checking in. I thought it would be chaotic, but it didn’t feel that way nor did it feel congested. I credit the large unloading area and the quickness of the valet staff. The Mondrian Hotel is an upscale hotel located in the heart of South Beach and the Miami Beach area, with an entrance on newly fashionable West Avenue, just off the hustle and bustle of Alton Avenue and a few blocks from famous Collins Avenue. Mondrian sits just minutes from the center of South Beach, downtown Miami, Miami Design District, Wynwood Arts District, Venetian Causeway, Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and Espanola Way. Set on the stunning waterfront of Biscayne Bay, the hotel offers a tropical oasis in a cosmopolitan setting. In the soaring lobby, floor-to-ceiling windows provide spectacular views of the bay while the eye is drawn to the signature “floating” staircase. The front desk staff extended the same warm welcome we received when we drove in.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Climbing along the coast, I was trying to snap pictures of the cool-blue Puerto Vallarta waters outside my car window (I know, it never works) when we started winding along stone walls draped in jungle-like foliage. Annoyed my view was blocked, I looked around to see where we were just as we were parking at Hotel Mousai — I audibly gasped. The all-glass, chic and incredibly grand entrance was so well-secluded, it somehow snuck up on me.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Arriving in Singapore is an easy affair as there are plenty of taxis for the 15-minute ride from Changi Airport, with little traffic. Coming into the circular drive of the famed Raffles hotel, you take in the view of this historic 1887 property. The equally famed doormen, dressed in traditional Sikh livery, greet guests and help with any requests.
Arrival/Check-In: Walking into the stark-white lobby of the 21c Museum Hotel Nashville, I was immediately reminded of the hotel’s namesake — yes, it looked like a museum; no, I was not quite ready for the bright lights at the hour of my late check-in. As the young staff member at the front desk kindly chatted while checking me in, I noticed a few interesting statues behind him, one of a woman seemingly floating while holding the leash of an animal-skin rug. Again, an odd sight at the hour of my late check-in, but I made a mental note to tour the hotel in the morning and get a second look.
Arrival/Check-In: After driving through downtown Guadalajara, through busy streets, markets and a main road seemingly dedicated to selling only bathroom porcelain and fixtures, the silence, greenery and openness surrounding Casa Habita was almost jarring. The hotel sits neatly tucked away behind lush foliage and a short staircase designed more like the entrance to an inviting home than a hotel.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving at the airport around 1 p.m., as soon as I walked out of the gate, I found my driver waiting to take me to the hotel. I enjoyed a pleasant 40-minute ride in a spacious van with air-conditioning, WiFi, fresh water and music of my choice.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving after a quick drive from meetings, bustling Collins Avenue beckoned me to get in the Miami mood. Driving down the famed avenue on approach to the retro driveway entrance of the Shelborne South Beach, I found that mood. The crisp, white exterior with a geometrically pleasing façade was just the ticket for those who admire a vintage touch with a modern twist. Upon entry to the lobby, it is clear this is a chic and tasteful atmosphere. In the roomy but inviting lobby, I found the front desk staff accommodating. Upon check-in, I made my way through the building toward the back, passing the on-site restaurant, café and trendy bar. Elevators were readily available to take me to my home away from home for a few days.
Arrival/Check-In: After a great non-stop flight from Newark to Honolulu on United Airlines first class, we swiftly said hello to a friend at baggage claim who was on the same flight and then took a taxi to the Halekulani. At the entrance, its team was ready, willing and able to help take our bags and swiftly set us up for registration, escorting us to our room, No. 1657. I last stayed at the Halekulani years earlier, and I have a lot of fond memories, including the marriage reception for Jim and Aileen Ferguson, and my son Nate who was about 4 years old participating in the Easter egg hunt and winning every event — we had to take four Easter baskets on our flight to Kauai the next day, but they all fit in the overhead.
Arrival/Check-In: We arrived at the hotel on a chilly afternoon to a warm greeting from the doorman and were directed to the lobby on the second floor, where we received another warm greeting and a speedy check-in.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel in what felt like a few minutes after landing at LAX, no surprise since it is only three miles from the airport. I especially liked the proximity to the airport a few days later when catching an early flight home. The friendly staff at the front desk were fast and efficient in getting me checked in and on the way to my room. The hotel has a sleek, minimalist décor with muted colors accented with floral arrangements that I found soothing, especially after a long transcontinental trip.
Arrival/Check-In: My 5:57 a.m. departure from Philadelphia with a stop in Atlanta landed me at LAX about 11:30 a.m. I caught a shuttle to the LAX-It lot, where travelers can grab rideshares and taxis, and headed toward my final destination.
Arrival/Check-In: After an enjoyable couple of days in Oahu, we looked forward to our short flight to Lanai from Honolulu. Representatives of the hotel met us at Lanai’s small airport, collected our baggage and drove us, with other guests, to the resort. A former pineapple plantation, Lanai is a less-traveled island; in fact, I found no residents in Honolulu who had been to Lanai. Upon arrival we were greeted with juice and leis and checked in by Xavier, who quickly escorted us to our room, No. 7552. Instead of keys, guests receive wrist bands that can get wet and still remain active; they open your suite door. Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle, purchased nearly 98 percent of the island in 2012 for $300 million. As one of his first projects, he invested $75 million in Manele Bay Hotel and turned it into the Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
Arrival/Check-In: After driving two hours north to Lake George, New York, toward The Sagamore, we followed the directions to a stretch of road loaded with quaint shops and restaurants. We had arrived in Bolton Landing. We walked around town and enjoyed some coffee and shopping as we had made great time and arrived a bit early for check-in.
Arrival/Check in: I arrived in Mexico City on a sunny late afternoon and zipped through light traffic from Benito Juarez International Airport to the heart of Mexico City, Paseo de la Reforma. Four Seasons Mexico City sits in the middle of the bustling area; but once you arrive in the covered driveway, you are transported into a sense of calm, art and luxury.
Arrival/Check-In: We arrived at The Water Club Hotel at Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, for our two-night stay and drove directly to valet parking. After the swift drop-off process, we took the escalator one flight up to the lobby to check in. The property is located steps away from the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. With no one ahead of us in line, we were checked in and on our way to our room in no time.
Arrival/Check-In: This past fall I took a much-needed vacation to somewhere I’ve never been before but have heard about for years: Montana. We chose The Resort at Paws Up outside of Missoula, as it blends miles of open land and outdoor activities with luxury accommodation and service.
Arrival/Check-In: I was staying in New York City with my daughter for the annual Wherever Awards event for our sister site, whereverfamily.com. As this event celebrates the best in family travel, I found it only fitting to get there early for some family sightseeing of our own. We arrived at Penn Station, right across the street from the hotel, at 9:30 a.m. — way too early to check in. But we had some luggage we didn’t want to carry around with us, so we stopped at the hotel to leave it there.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving way past midnight, we were still greeted by a friendly valet staff. The entrance was easy to access from the hustle and bustle of famous Collins Avenue. The Gates Hotel South Beach – a DoubleTree by Hilton is an upscale hotel located in the heart of South Beach across the street from the Atlantic Ocean. Convenient to all South Florida offers, the hotel sits only steps from Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive and South Beach’s best dining, shopping, nightlife and entertainment. The hotel is also convenient to the Biscayne Bay Marketplace, Bal Harbour and the Design District — all in a setting where luxury hotels mix with waterfront homes lining the canals that parallel the ocean. Valet parking was easy and convenient. Palm trees, bamboo and lush tropical vegetation lined the walkway to the hotel entrance on the side of the building; and vegetation, the landscape lights and the south Florida breeze created a nice ambience. The lobby offered the same sense of privacy and intimacy as the secluded yet inviting entrance. The eclectic décor added a touch of beachside bungalow, and it felt like home. The spacious lobby area included a casual bar on one side, billiard tables in the center and a casual lounging area on the other side. The front desk staff extended the same warm welcome we received when we drove in. It made a great end to a long day of travel.
Arrival/Check-In: Director of sales Bill Lodzinski and I flew into Toronto Pearson International airport late Sunday evening and hopped in our rental car, headed to the Four Seasons Toronto. The drive takes only 30 to 40 minutes from the airport. This flagship hotel made quite the impression upon our arrival. The courteous valet quickly and efficiently took our rental car to be parked overnight as we checked in. Check-in was flawless, and the staff made sure to inform us of the amenities, schedule of services available — such as the spa and dining — and provided us with our keys. In the opulent lobby, the lovely chandeliers, high ceilings, portraits of celebrities and fashion pieces encased discretely made one feel the glamour expected while staying at a Four Seasons property.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving late in the afternoon, we drove into the courtyard-style front entrance of the Waldorf Astoria in the Buckhead section of Atlanta. Unforgettable luxury and irresistible charm meet at this property in one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in Georgia’s capital, all in a setting near the best shops, dining and entertainment in the city.
Arrival/Check-In: Fresh from an evening flight from El Paso, Texas, my colleague Carly Allen and I arrived at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas after a comical Uber ride from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Happily, it’s an easy commute to the resort from the airport, and we were soon in the spacious, airy, bright lobby. Due to our later arrival time, check-in was a breeze, with no one else in line. The buzz inside the lobby’s Outlaw Taproom intrigued us, but the long day we’d just had sent us instead directly to our guestrooms.
Arrival/Check-In: After a pre-dawn flight from Philadelphia to Chicago, I arrived rather early at Claridge House, which recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation and rebranding. I’ve visited Chicago many times and this was my first opportunity to stay in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. Claridge House’s residential location lends itself well to the hotel’s “our home is your home” philosophy. That feeling is also evidenced by the lobby décor, boasting a few tables and a bar in the on-site Juniper restaurant and a cozy couch and seating area. It feels like entering a friend’s home and grabbing a cup of coffee. Even the front desk leans toward tucked-away and unobtrusive, further evoking the at-home vibe. A few days later, we had an event in the lobby and those same qualities translated well to the event.
Arrival/Check-In: After an easy ride across almost the entirety of the state of Pennsylvania, we arrived at the conveniently located Fairmont Pittsburgh, right in the heart of the city’s downtown. We left the car with the valet, and went inside to check-in. Despite arriving before check-in time, our room was ready and within just a few minutes in the light-filled lobby, where a staircase to the second-floor restaurant and meeting space is a design highlight, we were in our guest room, enjoying the exceptional views of Market Square. As Pennsylvania natives (from the Philadelphia area), we had never been to the city across the state and we were excited to get out and explore.
Arrival/Check-In: For a girls’ trip with my mom and sister, we decided on Cabo San Lucas to get some fresh air and margaritas. We booked a three-night stay at Live Aqua Private Residence, which sits on the same property as the Grand Fiesta Americana Golf Resort & Spa, but farther up on the hill, and comes with more personal services and privacy to add some exclusivity. The concierge helped arrange a car service for pick-up at the airport, something I highly recommend for any traveler coming to Mexico, and it took us straight to the Live Aqua Residence lobby, where we were greeted with fresh chilled hand towels and margaritas while we checked in. After, we hopped onto a golf cart and were whisked away to our villa.
Arrival/Check-In: We arrived to Gaige House + Ryokan for our one-night stay several hours before check-in and our room was not yet ready. We decided to explore the area. The luxury boutique property is located in Glen Ellen, California, right in the heart of Sonoma County. We went for a hike at a nearby park, had lunch and enjoyed a tasting at a winery all within a short drive of the property. By the time we were done, our room was ready.
Arrival/Check-In: Looking forward to seeing the refresh and renovation of the SLS Beverly Hills, I checked in with little delay even though a few other guests stood at the desk. I noticed a lot of families with children staying at the SLS, which I thought was interesting and a shift in its previous marketing profile. The property boasts a great location and a cool pool, which was one of the major changes when it modified the building 15 years ago. A simple turn to my right led me up to my lovely room in no time.
Arrival/Check In: It was a chilly 35 degrees in Seattle as I sat with my morning espresso and the city continued to recover from a rare snowstorm the previous week, with more to come. Luckily, I arrived at Sea-Tac the previous evening with clear skies and sunshine scheduled for this day, despite the cold.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the Santiago Marriott Hotel in Chile ahead of check-in and, luckily, my room was ready. While the front desk attendant checked me in, I admired the massive lobby. An elevator bank next to the front desk leads to the guestroom floors. The lobby opens up to the property’s fitness center and the Akun Lounge and Bar, with stairs and elevators leading down to event space and additional restaurants.
Arrival/Check-In: We arrived at Kenwood Inn & Spa shortly before check-in. The front desk attendant went to perform a quick inspection of our room while I enjoyed a complimentary welcome glass of Champagne. She returned and asked if we needed assistance with our luggage, then escorted us to our room. Along the way she pointed out the rooms past the lobby where the daily complimentary breakfast is served as well as complimentary wine tastings.
Arrival/Check-In: My flight landed in Santiago early in the morning. I made my way to the Sheraton Miramar Hotel & Convention Center, less than a two-hour drive from the airport. The property is situated directly along the Pacific Ocean in Viña del Mar. My room was ready even though I arrived prior to check-in time. Tired from my trip, I immediately made my way to my room on the sixth floor to rest.
Arrival/Check-In: In years past, I’ve taken a hard hat tour of The Langham, Chicago, while it was still under construction, and I’ve indulged at the on-site Chuan Spa, but until this past winter, I’d never had the pleasure of staying overnight in the luxury hotel. Needless to say, I was eager for the opportunity on a recent one-night business trip to Chicago. Two colleagues and I departed Philadelphia early, arriving in Chicago before the workday and well before check-in time; however, as we had Club-level access, we made ourselves comfortable in the Club Lounge, enjoying some nibbles and doing some work before departing for a day of meetings. When we returned later that day, our bags had been moved to our guestrooms.
Arrival/Check-In: The journey to arrive in Mont-Tremblant from Laval was a substantial one. More than an hour of driving through snow and frigid wind brought us to a hotel at the base of Tremblant. The façade and presentation are charming and grand, and a quick step inside the lobby tells you the charming aesthetic is not limited to the exterior of the building.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in a rental vehicle after driving in from Miami International Airport which, for reference, is not a terrible commute to and from The Ritz-Carlton. The hotel’s structure towers high above the ocean’s edge, and a discreet driveway welcomes only the informed and invited. The hotel’s entrance offers privacy in a city which favors the vibrant and apparent, making it a welcome change of pace, as I was in town for many meetings and looking for a bit of peace. The valet service was seamless, and the doorman welcomed us to a gorgeous lobby filled with contemporary décor, marble and modern artwork. The front desk was informed, and a staff member escorted me to my one-bedroom suite. This particular property is unique because it features two large suites on each floor, offering exclusivity and plenty of room to entertain.
Arrival/Check-In: Flying out of a cold New York City, I landed at LAX at 5:40 p.m. It was tricky to find my Uber, and a lot of other travelers that Tuesday evening found themselves in the same predicament. The drive to the hotel took roughly one hour and 45 minutes, which many have told me was pretty good timing considering the distance and time of day in Los Angeles. I arrived at The Garland for my check-in, and the friendly and attentive front desk staff had me off to my room within six minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: I have traveled to Seoul for years and have stayed at the Lotte Hotel Seoul often, as it’s centrally located, surrounded by business districts, museums and markets. But this trip was different; the Executive Tower at the Lotte Hotel is now fully open for guests after a complete renovation.
Arrival/Check-In: Once Global Traveler CEO and Publisher Francis X. Gallagher and I landed at Cairo International Airport, we proceeded through customs and were greeted by our friendly limo driver outside of baggage claim. Though it was November, the weather was quite humid, so we enjoyed our air-conditioned limo, equipped with WiFi and cold water bottles. After driving through the busy streets of Cairo, we arrived in front of the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residences. Prior to our limo dropping us off, the security detail scanned underneath our car for any possible threats. Once the doorman greeted us, we proceeded to have our bags quickly scanned and then to check in with the kindly front desk staff. Two Four Seasons employees escorted us to our individual rooms, with Francis given a room on a higher floor while I, to my delight, was shown a glorious surprise!
Arrival/Check-In: While the snow continued to fall at a steady clip, my taxi pulled up outside Hôtel Bonaventure Montréal. A quick departure from my cab and a few steps later, I was taken in by the distinctive style of the entrance corridor. A quick elevator ride to the lobby is necessary because Hôtel Bonaventure Montréal sits on the top two floors of a 17-story business and professional complex. Located in the heart of downtown Montréal, it even connects to the city’s underground concourse.
Arrival/Check-In: The Regal Airport Hotel is perfectly situated for any traveler looking for a place to rest before connecting to other airports in Asia or before heading into the bustling city of Hong Kong. My stay at the Regal was for two nights, one week apart. The first was upon arrival in Asia, after a flight, and the second was before my early-morning flight home, six days and two countries later. Its location is right outside the main passenger terminal and a five-minute walk through an enclosed breezeway. The main lobby, a large open space, houses restaurants, shops and an entertainment center. The front desk was busy, but I checked in in less than 10 minutes and was directed to the executive club floor, where guests staying in club-access rooms can also check in.
Arrival/Check-In: Flying in from Cairo, we landed at 3 a.m., which appears to be the busiest time at Dubai International Airport. The transport train was packed full of passengers with the same intent as us: collect luggage, get through immigration and make it to the hotel so we could get a few hours of sleep before a busy first day. Here the Address Boulevard kicked its service level into high gear by meeting us as we came down the escalator. Both my name and my colleague’s name were displayed on a sign held by two lovely ladies who escorted us through the immigration process. From there they walked us briskly to the baggage carrousel where other support staff had retrieved our bags, and off we were sent in a lovely Audi A8 to the property. Upon arrival we were checked in swiftly and taken to our rooms to get settled for our quick rest before our first meeting at 10 a.m.
Arrival/Check-In: My sister and I flew into Las Vegas (LAS) from Philadelphia (PHL) on a later flight, arriving at 8:30 p.m. Normally, this wouldn’t even be noteworthy, but on this trip I decided we would drive to Escalante, Utah, and check into our hotel the same night. After the five-hour ride, we finally arrived at our destination: Entrada Escalante Lodge.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Dallas on a cloudy afternoon and, luckily, traffic was light as I drove my rental car into the city in just less than 30 minutes. The Joule, built in the 1920s in the Neo-Gothic style, is a city landmark sitting in the heart of the business district. The hotel’s valet awaited curbside and quickly gathered my luggage from the trunk and walked me through the art-filled lobby. Before booking this hotel, I was aware the property featured art installations throughout, but I was still delighted by the interesting art that was tastefully done for guests to experience. I was promptly greeted and checked in at the front desk in the middle of the lobby. The elevators, hidden toward the back, are accessed through a long corridor, but art lining the walls helps guide your way.
Arrival/Check-In: In an urban location within minutes of Rodeo Drive and UCLA and not too far from Venice Beach, W Los Angeles is surrounded by all the razzle-dazzle of L.A. yet in a quiet and convenient location offering easy access with a wide entry and an efficient lobby. You can check in, drop your bags and head straight to the Living Room Bar, STK Los Angeles or sit poolside at The Hideout, a brand-new outdoor dining experience. From the moment you arrive, you’ll feel the contemporary vibe and relaxed, well-organized tone similar to other W Hotels you’ve visited.
Arrival/Check-In: We arrived in Southampton, crossing the Atlantic on board the Queen Mary 2. As Cunard does not pre-arrange car pick-ups prior to departure, I decided to book my reservation with LimoPlus per a recent article I read on globaltravelerusa.com. The trip from Southampton to London was quick and easy with our driver, Kumaran, taking back ways when needed. When we arrived at the Corinthia London, we were welcomed like we were coming home — this was my third visit since the property opened in 2011. As we had a lot of bags from the crossing, full of casual and elegant attire, staff took our bags and swiftly escorted us to our suite, one of the property’s London Suites.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived a little early before check-in time and found my room was not ready. Not a problem; I figured I could check my email in the Lobby Lounge and have a late lunch. I enjoyed a really lovely cheese plate while I waited to be notified my room was ready. About an hour and a half later, I checked again and was told it still was not ready, which was disappointing. Finally, two hours later, I returned again to discover it was ready; the individual had not bothered to inform me. There is no question the hotel was busy; and people were checking out late; and many guests were arguing over the resort fee, which they claimed they did not know about. It was a little embarrassing to overhear these conversations. The fee is reported on the hotel website to be $40 per room per night; some of the families checking out had multiple rooms, so you can imagine their concern.
Arrival/Check-In: I took a taxi from Hong Kong International Airport on a warm Sunday afternoon. Traffic was light, taking only about 30 minutes into the welcoming drive of the International Commerce Centre. The hotel, located on the top floors of the towering building in Kowloon, presents a feel of class, business and expectation upon arrival. Valets greet you at the drive and escort you to the elevator, where you’re directed to the 103rd floor. The vast lobby presents an ambience of dark marble, wood and soft lighting and bustles with guests. As I was staying in a club suite room, I was directed to the Club Lounge on the 116th floor, where I sat next to the large windows and sipped tea during check-in. It was only 10 a.m., but the hotel accommodated my early check-in.
Arrival/Check-In: The urban chic hotel dwells perfectly between Hollywood hip and corporate cool. Dream Hollywood welcomes you upon arrival with an open glass entryway showcasing a structured, organically lush lobby atmosphere filled with modern art and a lobby lounge bar that transforms for a morning cup of coffee or a post-work cocktail. Upon check-in with the extremely helpful and courteous staff, I made my way to the elevators and up to my room, enjoying the artwork as I awaited my elevator. I felt I had been transported to an ultra-cool setting — who knew who I’d run into here!
Arrival/Check-In: I lived in San Francisco during college, so visiting the city and seeing all the changes made for a fun and exciting getaway. The Hotel Zeppelin resides in a once slightly shabby area that has since come alive with new hotels and restaurants for travelers looking for something different. We arrived at noon on a Friday, and the hotel front desk staff immediately greeted us. They were able to accommodate an early check-in, completed in just a few minutes. The lobby is as hip as the hotel name sounds, but it also offers a cozy atmosphere, with a roaring fire and comfy couches and chairs in the lounge area. Unique wall art, statues and lighting remind guests of the cool factor.
Arrival/Check-In: Situated on a pristine barrier island with superb beaches and panoramic ocean views, The Ritz-Carlton at Key Biscayne epitomizes tranquility, serenity and luxury. This 5-star resort features the unparalleled amenities and services that have made the Ritz name synonymous with quality. From the moment you arrive, you will appreciate the warm and welcoming atmosphere, the incredible views and the uniquely Floridian décor of the newly renovated lounge.
Arrival/Check-In: Enjoying my ride from Denver International Airport to my hotel downtown, I was so focused on the snow-capped mountains in the distance, I nearly missed the city buildings fast approaching. After a 30- to 40-minute ride into the city, I arrived at the Aloft Denver Downtown.
Arrival/Check-In: After an overnight cruise from Helsinki, I arrived at 9:30 a.m. before the customary check-in. With a welcoming smile and quick check of ID and credit card, the desk attendant provided me with an electronic key, and I was in front of my room within minutes. Unfortunately, the e-key had not expected me until after 10 a.m. and would not work. A quick trip to the front desk, and with profound apologies, the bellman escorted me to the room to be sure I got in.
Arrival/Check-In: Nestled among giant trees, the front of The Royal Hawaiian truly takes you back to the glamour of Old Hollywood, with arched doorways, thick carpets and dark woods framed by the famous royal pink walls. They say the likes of Cary Grant and Shirley Temple sought refuge here from Los Angeles.
Arrival/Check-In: Conveniently located near Copley Square, the Loews Boston Hotel is a landmark and staple of the neighborhood. I was in the city for meetings with clients and had taken an Uber mid-afternoon to the corner of Stuart and Berkley streets. I was instantly enamored with the grand limestone building before me. The lower level glowed as delicate strings of bulb lights softened the appearance of what once was the Boston Police Headquarters. The doorman greeted me and escorted me through the lobby to the front desk. The entrance was contemporary with classic, crowd-pleasing touches such as white marble and deep wood. The check-in staff was polite and informed me of the delicious restaurant below, appropriately named Precinct Kitchen + Bar.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the Hartford, Connecticut, train station on a journey that began in Trenton, New Jersey, on an electric-powered Amtrak bound for Boston. The trip required a cross-platform train change in New Haven to the diesel-powered trains that operate north to Springfield, Massachusetts, and beyond. It was nice to complete the trip on the train instead of the buses that replaced the train while the line was refurbished and new stations were built along the route in Meriden, Wallingford, and Berlin, Connecticut. The return trip on the Amtrak Vermonter provided through service without a train change, only a quick change to an electric-powered locomotive.
Arrival/Check-In: We arrived at the hotel shortly after lunch and before check-in time, so I wasn’t sure if our room would be ready. At the front desk we learned our room was indeed ready; but if we could wait just 15 more minutes, we could avoid the early check-in fee. Perfect — we could easily kill 15 minutes just walking around the hotel to see where everything was. Located on the grounds of Dulles International Airport, the hotel boasts 364 rooms and four suites on three floors. We checked out the fitness room and the indoor and outdoor pools. The hotel also features nearly 13,000 square feet of event space, including 11 event rooms.
Arrival/Check-In: The Halekulani Hotel nestles off the main Waikiki drag, right on the beach for every guest’s pleasure. We arrived in the early afternoon, and the valet greeted us warmly and showed us to the main lobby for check-in. The open-air main lobby and sitting area let guests feel the warm tropical breeze and feature white marble floors and rich, dark wood accents. The desk staff promptly helped us and escorted us to our room, all the while giving an overview of the hotel amenities, pools and restaurants, including tips to get the best spot with an umbrella and seating for the live music. Upon arrival into the room, we were welcomed with fresh fruit and chocolate.
Arrival/Check-In: I flew Delta Air Lines through Minneapolis, and due to weather and late arrival of aircraft at both Philadelphia (PHL) and Minneapolis (MSP), I did not land in Seattle until 2 a.m. My goal was to have my head hit the bed at 3 a.m. so I would get a little sleep and be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for my 8 a.m. meeting, the first of five the next day. I was pleased there was a taxi waiting (only one) and I figured calling an Uber this late would take more time. The ride was uneventful except when the driver tried to go down a one-way street in the heart of Seattle. Nonetheless, I made it to the hotel and was pleased the front doorman was working at that ungodly hour. The front desk attendant was also ready and set me up swiftly.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Madrid early in the morning after a long day of travel. AC Hotel Cuzco is a short drive from Madrid-Barajas International Airport. Though I arrived at the property hours before check-in time, my room was ready. After a swift check-in process, the front desk attendant pointed me toward the elevator bank, and I made my way to my room on the 10th floor.
Arrival/Check-In: My check-in experience was a bit comical. I arrived at the expansive property and was quickly helped by a friendly front desk attendant. I appreciated the offer of a water or soda, and I agreed to forego housekeeping for a food and beverage voucher, knowing I’d use that in just a little bit when I ordered a room service lunch. Guests can also receive loyalty points for opting out of the cleaning service.
Arrival/Check-In: We flew from Philadelphia to Tampa’s efficient airport — I say this as it just created a rental car center which the local newspaper said was a disaster, but we found everything running smoothly. The elevated train takes passengers to the rental center in super-fast speed and comfort. It was just a short drive to the Marriott, where the many valet parking attendants stood ready to quickly and efficiently process us. The hotel has a massive lobby with palm trees in the center, and the building has been undergoing a $40 million multiphase renovation by its new owners, Strategic Property Partners. Frank, the bellman, took our bags, though we had little more than the basic carry-ons, and escorted us to registration. We were swiftly checked in, and Frank took us up to our high floor with its sweeping view of the marina. Frank helped us with local hot spots and restaurant venues. We decided to take the short walk across the bridge to Jackson’s for a cocktail and terrific dinner at the bar the first night. We had a busy next morning, so we were pleased to get settled.
Arrival/Check-In: On my first trip to Canada, I was completely blown away with the view as I traveled from Kelowna to Osoyoos, British Columbia. The car ride lasted about two hours but felt far shorter, as I had my face glued to the window the entire ride. The endless mountain ranges, various lakes and lush green vineyards rolling by captivated me. Needless to say, the scenery was a calming reprieve.
Arrival/Check-In: It was quite a day getting to The Buenaventura Golf & Beach Resort, An Autograph Collection Hotel; but the instant I arrived, all the stresses of delayed flights, sprints through the airport, mechanical issues, traffic and rain melted away. It was after 7 p.m. but still muggy, so the cool welcome drink was a refreshing sight. Check-in was easy, with the attendant thoroughly explaining the property and its amenities before sending me on my way to enjoy a warm shower and a change of clothes before dinner.
Arrival/Check-In: I flew to Seoul from JFK on Asiana Airlines’ flight 221, landing just after 5 p.m. at Incheon International Airport, helping you acclimate to the time change. Before checking into the SIGNIEL Seoul, I met my local colleague, Jeff Hwang, and his family at a local restaurant, along with Carly Allen, GT’s executive vice president, who arrived in Seoul a day earlier. After dinner, Jeff drove me to the massive Lotte World Tower, where staff appeared to be waiting for me and greeted me by name. I was taken to the 79th-floor lobby and then to the 95th floor, where I checked into the hotel in my room, No. 9581. Shortly thereafter my luggage arrived, and I quickly settled in for the evening. The room still smelled new with a clean, fresh scent.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving around 10 p.m. on a rainy Friday evening after work, we were eager to valet the car and check in. Situated in Washington, D.C.’s newest district, The Wharf, opened October 2017, InterContinental Washington, D.C. – The Wharf offers a prime position in one of the buzziest spots in the city. While not as crowded that Friday evening, likely given the rain, we’d see just how popular the area was over the next two days of our stay which, thankfully, also brought sunnier weather. It was a bit confusing driving through The Wharf and finding the hotel valet — we sort of happily happened upon it. Thankful to stretch our legs after a three-hour trip, there was some slight confusion as we handed over the keys, but once inside, check-in was a breeze. Within 10 minutes of our arrival, we were headed to our 10th-floor guestroom.
Arrival/Check-In: After departing Philadelphia International Airport at 5 a.m. (which meant a 2:30 a.m. wake-up time), transferring through Chicago and then driving nearly an hour from Springfield to Branson, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to hear from a hotel my room was ready before the guaranteed check-in time. The lobby was quiet, and after waiting a few minutes for the couple in front of me to check in, I was on my way to my fifth-floor guestroom in no time.
Arrival/Check-In: Incheon Airport is a good hour’s drive from the heart of Seoul, so be prepared for traffic. I got into the city during rush hour, but at THE PLAZA Seoul everything slowed to a nice pace as the valet helped with my bags and escorted me to reception. There was a bit of a wait, but it allowed me to enjoy the ultra-modern lobby with its high ceilings, dark wood and unique art spanning the marble space. A huge bouquet of flowers sitting on the center table offered a charming touch, along with the signature eucalyptus fragrance used throughout the property. Soon the staff realized my room was on the Club Floor and whisked me to the 20th floor for a quicker, more personalized check-in at the Club Lounge.
Check-In: I must start with praise for the valet service. As soon as we pulled up, the valet was attentive and made sure my Cadillac Sixt rental was well taken care of. Walking into the lobby, I noticed how absolutely beautiful it is; between the chandeliers and the floral arrangements, it really couldn’t get much better. The check-in service was just as welcoming. The helpful front desk staff checked me in within five minutes. They even walked me to the elevator. I’ve never experienced this before, so I thought it was a nice touch.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at Faena Hotel Miami Beach with a friend for a girls’ weekend away in January. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t as cooperative as we’d hoped. Upon arrival, a friendly bellhop told us more about the stunning artwork in the grand entryway/foyer of the hotel. On the right side of this foyer are a restaurant and theater, and to the left are the elevators, concierge and a personalized check-in experience. There’s no busy main reception at Faena but rather two desks that offer a more exclusive welcome experience. Within a few minutes we were checked in and on our way to our guestroom.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe around 2 p.m. after a 2.5-hour drive from Los Angeles. The front croquet lawns mimic an Old Hollywood feel, with history-rich black-and-white equestrian photos and crystal chandeliers in the entryway. I admired the teal and gray color palette as I walked into the inn, where a welcoming staff member greeted me with fresh water and lemon. Arriving for my best friend’s wedding weekend, I knew immediately it would not be one to forget at this luxe countryside retreat full of history and present-day charm.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the Hotel Healdsburg prior to check-in time, and my room was not yet ready, so I decided to explore the neighborhood. The luxury property is located across from Healdsburg Plaza and a variety of shops. A stroll was the perfect way to pass the short time. About 30 minutes later, I received a text from the hotel that my room was available. My luggage had been brought to my room, so I easily went on my way.
Arrival/Check-In: After finishing some meetings, I arrived at the hotel in the evening. I was a bit concerned since I had dinner plans in an hour. I anxiously waited in line to check in, but it only took about 15 minutes. The Washington Park Hotel has five buildings, so I followed the map to my room in the Taft Building, where I quickly changed and got ready for dinner.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the Hotel Healdsburg prior to check-in time, and my room was not yet ready, so I decided to explore the neighborhood. The luxury property is located across from Healdsburg Plaza and a variety of shops. A stroll was the perfect way to pass the short time. About 30 minutes later, I received a text from the hotel that my room was available. My luggage had been brought to my room, so I easily went on my way.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the Kimpton Alexis in Seattle around noon and was greeted by a welcoming staff. I admired the art-filled entrance and even noticed a chalkboard sign that had the names of the dogs staying in the hotel written alongside treats and water bowls. I was hoping to drop off my bags before going sightseeing for the day, and the Alexis was incredibly accommodating by having my room ready for an early check-in. Within minutes I dropped off my bags, changed clothes and was out the door to explore Seattle.
Arrival/Check-In: Anytime you travel to Seattle in the winter and spring months, you need to prepare for chilly winds and rain. I was ready for the weather during my recent trip to Seattle, arriving Sunday for a week of meetings all over the city. The Edgewater Hotel sits at Pier 67 on Alaskan Way, the only property on Elliot Bay. As the area is not overcrowded with buildings, it’s easy to find, with a driveway leading to friendly valets and a stone fireplace blazing to welcome guests. As you enter the lobby you get the full ambience of the Pacific Northwest. Overstuffed club chairs and decorative antler-inspired floor lamps encourage you to relax and enjoy the awe-inspiring view of the bay from its floor-to-ceiling windows. After I spent a few moments staring in awe, the front desk staff checked me in.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the property mid-afternoon; the driveway was busy but made orderly by the parking and front door staff. A bellhop took my luggage, and I proceeded to the front desk where I was greeted by a check-in clerk who told me I had a lovely Beverly Suite (room 302), a newly renovated room. Even though there were some reservation errors on our end, the cool and professional team at The Peninsula swiftly corrected them — they were there to correct the error and did so in a calm manner.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving in Dallas in the early afternoon ensured light traffic conditions from Dallas Love Field Airport, just 15 minutes from downtown. The hotel valet took my car and, due to the warm and windy weather, I was quickly ushered into the expansive lobby. Worth noting: The valet area has fans and cold bottled water waiting for guests coming and going, with 24-hour attendants who are friendly. I checked in after a few minutes; my room was waiting despite the early check-in, which is always appreciated.
Arrival/Check-In: My colleague and I arrived in Chicago on a cold day. Any thoughts of taking an early morning constitutional went out the window as soon as we stepped out of the cab. The Ritz-Carlton lobby is on the 12th floor of Water Tower Place. Check-in was friendly and efficient.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Mexico City on a sunny but chilly Sunday afternoon. The Grand Fiesta Americana Chapultepec offers a car service from the airport for about 200 pesos, worth the extra spend for its convenience. However, Uber is up and running in Mexico City and makes a good alternative; I used it getting around the city a few times on this trip.
Arrival/Check-In: The entrance to the Luxe Rodeo Drive Hotel sits beneath a bright red awning directly on Beverly Hills’ famed Rodeo Drive, right between the Michael Kors and Rolex stores. The valet helped us from our car, gathered our luggage and directed us inside. It took a few moments for my eyes to adjust from the bright sunlight outside to the black-painted walls of the long, sloping entrance ramp that led to the check-in desk at the rear of the lobby. The clerk greeted us, reviewed the features of the Luxe Club ($35 per guest per night) and had us on our way to our room in a jiffy. On the way we quickly surveyed the lounge where libations and light bites are available, next to some comfortable conversation areas. Shortly after we arrived at our room, our luggage was dropped off, and a hotel representative stopped by with a tray of macarons, bottles of water and a bottle of a California Cabernet Sauvignon. A pleasant welcome!
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Los Angeles early afternoon, grateful for the warm weather after a long flight from snowy Connecticut. The Beverly Hilton, legendary for its star-studded events and Old Hollywood glamour, knows how to roll out the red carpet. A cheerful doorman greeted me at my taxi and directed me to the front desk. The lobby shimmered with Christmas lights which, along with the sunshine, put me in a festive mood. My room was ready, and in a few minutes the friendly attendant checked me in. As I left the desk, the doorman appeared with complimentary bottles of water and wished me a happy holiday.
Arrival/Check-In: After a morning flight from Philadelphia, I arrived in Toronto and was quickly on my way to Four Seasons Hotel Toronto. My latemorning arrival coincided with the last bits of rush hour traffic as well as some construction, so I arrived at the property a bit after lunchtime. Luckily, check-in was easy, conducted by an especially warm and friendly front desk attendant. And happily, despite being several hours in advance of the normal check-in time, my room was ready. I had to pause a moment upon arrival and on my way to my room to take in the beautiful holiday decorations on display.
Arrival/Check-In: After a day of meetings in Dubai, we drove to Abu Dhabi to complete our journey in the U.A.E. I’d stayed at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers twice before, the first time during the first month it was open. I find the property friendly and constantly evolving to suit the tastes of its guests. When we arrived, my driver could not open the trunk to retrieve our luggage; we all tugged, to no avail. I chatted with the doorman, and we thought it might be the valet lock in the glove compartment. Eureka! This was the issue, and we were soon off and running. The doorman and I became fast friends, smiling at each other as I arrived and departed. The lobby is grand, offering options for relaxing, including the Lobby Lounge and Lobby Bar. Check-in was swift, and the friendly team asked if I needed help or guidance, which I politely refused and retired to my room.
Arrival/Check-in: I was in Beverly Hills to attend Global Traveler’s GT Tested Reader Survey awards gala cocktail reception at a nearby hotel. After an uneventful flight from the chilly East Coast, I arrived in Los Angeles to summer-like weather, which I appreciated. The doorman gave me a warm greeting and directed me to reception, where the friendly staff promptly checked me in and the concierge showed me to my room. The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is a new hotel, opened in June 2017, so everything about it has a newly minted glow.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at Kimpton Everly early in the evening. Believe it or not, my Uber was able to beat the well-known L.A. traffic, which worked out perfectly since it afforded me a couple of hours to burn before dinner plans. After swiftly checking in, I made my way to Hollywood Boulevard (just around the corner) to see all the stars and enjoy the beautiful weather. Sunny and 80 degrees in the middle of December is not something this Philly girl is used to.
Arrival/Check-In: The Leopolis Hotel, nestled in the heart of Lviv, Ukraine, is a 5-star boutique property perfect for business or leisure travelers. The lobby is on the smaller side, with a limited seating area, but the hotel itself felt spacious. I arrived with a group of four and, despite a one-person manned front desk and the multiple check-ins concurrently, it only took a few minutes to retrieve my room key and head up to my third-floor deluxe guestroom.
Arrival/Check-In: After a long journey flying to Dubai from New York via Saudi Arabia, we were pleased to arrive at the Kempinski property, directly connected to the Mall of the Emirates with its Ski Dubai facility. In fact, some of the chalets offer direct views of this indoor alpine experience. The grand lobby boasts a high, multistory ceiling and lovely artwork. It seems the hotel researched both of us, and the staff knew us on sight from our social media pictures. The front desk contacts were friendly and informative, and during my stay I found them invaluable as they took great care with some letters and cards I was posting to the United States. Our luggage was taken, and up we went to settle in to our rooms. I was in room 640, located just far enough from the elevators, and my colleague was just down the hall.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at DFW late in the afternoon and took an Uber to the property. My colleague was staying nearby and had rented a car for our meeting in the Big D. I chatted with my Uber driver, originally from Houston, so we had a lot of subject matter to cover based on the recent storms. The Ritz-Carlton is located alongside Dallas’ historic McKinney Avenue, which has seen a great deal of growth and resurgence in recent years. When I was dropped off, the friendly front door staff escorted me into the registration area. Check-in was swift, and I was told I had a nice upgrade to a suite. This often happens to me when I have fewer than 12 hours to stay in a property. The lobby is grand and in the Ritz-Carlton style; off the lobby are the popular Rattlesnake Bar and Fearing’s Restaurant.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at Opera Hotel Kyiv in the early evening, looking forward to a swift check-in, as I needed to change for dinner and didn’t want to rush. Fresh from my flight to Kyiv from New York, I felt a bit sluggish. Luckily, the 5-star property delivered, and within minutes I was on my way to my generously sized guestroom, with just enough time to rest a bit before departing again.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived mid-afternoon on a Sunday after my taxi fought the notorious Los Angeles traffic from LAX. The guest arrival entrance is around back, and staff was very attentive to me and the other arriving guests. While waiting to be checked in, I admired the tile fountain in the arrival desk area, which created a calming effect. I wandered down a hall, following the sound of upbeat music, which led me to the Tropicana Café pool area. Since it was a weekend and the weather was favorable, the area was filled with hotel guests and pool guests alike — all having drinks, laughs and fun. It seems the Tropicana Café pool is used for private parties and as a place to relax on the weekend for L.A. locals. After quickly checking in and receiving a complimentary bottle of water, I went up to my room in the Tower section. I wanted to change into my bathing suit and grab a bite to eat back at the pool lounge.
Arrival/Check-In: Part of the adventure of the Royal Zambezi Lodge is getting there, and after flying from Washington Dulles International Airport on South African Airways and overnighting in Johannesburg, we caught an early flight to Lusaka, Zambia. Once we arrived at Lusaka Airport, I followed the detailed instructions for, one, getting a Multi Visa, as later in the trip we were visiting Zimbabwe; and, two, collecting our luggage and taking it to the Royal Air Charter office through immigration. If we were not sure we were in Africa before, Zambia let us know this was “real Africa.” The crew at Royal Air Charter was friendly and directed us to the screening area for the next leg of our flight.
Arrival/Check-In: As we drove up to the Barceló Maya Grand Resort, I was in awe of its size. The property comprises five different hotels, each with its own unique style, restaurants and amenities. We stayed at the Barceló Caribe, whose bright orange and white, open-air lobby was flanked by colorful metal statues of Mayan warriors leading the way inside. Directed to the Premier check-in, we were quickly seated and offered welcome drinks. There was a small mix-up with our reservation, as I was traveling with my teenage daughter and husband, and we needed two double beds instead of a king-sized bed. But the room was quickly switched for us and we were told it was ready, even though we were early.
Arrival/Check-In: Honolulu International Airport lies just 20 minutes from downtown Waikiki and serves as the major hub for airlines into the islands, so it is convenient for leisure and business travelers. I took a quick cab ride to The Prince Waikiki. I was greeted by the doorman, who quickly helped me with my luggage and guided me through the expansive lobby to the front desk. While checking in I got my first look at the $55 million full renovation The Prince Waikiki debuted earlier in 2017. The lobby reaches more than two stories tall with locally inspired art suspended overhead, plush seating and its Honolulu Coffee Co. for guests to enjoy the best local coffee.
Arrival/Check-In: The Curtain opened just about 30 days prior to my visit as the newest hotel in trendy Shoreditch. A hotel, restaurant, live music venue and members club, it offers a little bit of everything. My friend and I arrived late morning for our two-night stay and were notified we’d been upgraded to a Shoreditch Suite. The front desk attendant told us our room wasn’t quite ready but stored our bags and escorted us to the rooftop pool and restaurant, LIDO, for a cappuccino while we waited. It wasn’t long before she came up to show us to our guestroom and give us our keys.
Arrival/Check-In: Lion Sands was the final destination of our trip to Africa, and based on our itinerary, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport proved the best arrival airport. Unfortunately, this airport is almost a three-hour transfer to the lodge as opposed to Skukuza Airport (from which we departed), only a few minutes away. But as they say, you can’t get there from here. We arrived at the lodge complex as the sun was setting, and once through the lodge gates, it took another 20 minutes to reach the entrance of the River Lodge — one of four including Ivory, Narina and Tinga. We were greeted by candlelit lanterns and led into the main communal area for our introductions and check-in. We had just enough time to get to our rooms and settle in while elephants ate the leaves off the trees just outside. We turned off the lights and watched this show for a few minutes. Afterward, we headed to dinner outside on the dining deck overlooking the river and then played a game of Scrabble in the bar/ lounge area before retiring for the evening. We had a big next day with an early safari and a transfer to the Ivory Lodge.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Maui after a few days of business on Oahu, ready for a relaxing weekend. After a quick, 25- minute taxi to Wailea, I arrived at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. I was ushered down a tranquil outdoor walkway surrounded by water, leading into the open-air, expansive lobby. The lobby, on the top floor, offers views of several pools, restaurants and guestrooms in cascading levels all the way to the beach. Check-in was easy, with a kind front desk member showing me to a couch with a view of the water while I waited.
Arrival/Check-In: With check-in taking less than five minutes, we were given our keys and proceeded immediately to our rooms. The Oxford Hotel, located in the heart of Denver’s lively Lower Downtown historic district, was Denver’s first, originally constructed in 1891. Set in the city’s most vibrant neighborhood, the grand property is a boutique at heart, offering a unique and personalized guest experience in a stylish space filled with art of the American West. The hotel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the only one in the city with a fully functioning wood-burning fireplace.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the 5-star New York City hotel late afternoon on a Friday. After a traffic-congested cab ride from Penn Station, I was eager for a quick check-in and some downtime before my evening plans. I was traveling with my mom and wanted her to enjoy a luxury experience, as we were celebrating her recent milestone birthday. Upon our arrival, our bags were carried up the steps and to the reception desk for us, where a welcome surprise awaited — we’d been upgraded to a deluxe suite. In just a few minutes we were on our way to the 1,050-square-foot guestroom with plenty of time to relax before our dinner reservation.
Arrival/Check-In: In July I attended the annual Global Business Travel Association convention in Boston, and I had the pleasure of staying at The Lenox Hotel. My colleagues and I arrived to a particularly friendly greeting by the doorman and were shown into the lobby — a beautiful, warm space with coffered ceilings, colonial-style chandeliers, ornate décor and plush furniture. The hotel was built in 1900; and while its history is palpable, its location and chic lobby City Bar and City Table restaurant offer a contemporary vibe.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at Rosewood London in the early evening after a full day spent exploring the Cotswolds. Despite feeling fatigued, the energy and the buzz in the lobby were contagious, and I felt re-energized. The incredibly friendly reception staff greeted my friend and me warmly, checked us in quickly, pointed us in the right direction, and we were in our room in just a matter of minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving at MIA, I picked up my Hertz rental and keyed in the hotel’s address on the north edge of Ocean Drive, just beyond the Versace mansion. My route took me north on Ocean past the restaurants and key locations in South Beach. The hotel is located on the opposite side of the street, requiring what I call a “Philly move,” making an aggressive U-turn to reach the valet parking attendant (a move I repeated many times during my stay). The car was swiftly taken, and during my entire time at The Betsy, the front door and parking staff were helpful with my vehicle, which was always waiting for me out front. The building, formerly the historic Betsy Ross Hotel, was totally renovated in 2009, adding the Carlton Hotel as a wing of the property in 2016 to create a single hotel.
Arrival/Check-In: I got into Seattle mid-morning and was greeted by blue skies and temperatures in the high 70s, a perfect day by Seattle standards. I took a cab from Seattle-Tacoma Airport and arrived at the Pan Pacific in less than 30 minutes — hours before check-in. The front desk greeted me warmly, assuring me they would put a rush on my room, and held my luggage as I enjoyed a complimentary cocktail at the lobby restaurant and bar. The restaurant and lobby feature floor-to-ceiling windows, providing natural light; I took in the comfortable atmosphere while I got some work done in front of the fireplace. Within an hour I was headed to my room, where my luggage was already waiting — a nice touch.
Arrival/Check-In: I flew to Singapore from Seoul on Asiana Airlines flight 751, a late flight that did not get me to Changi Airport until 9:45 p.m. Since my arrival to the hotel was late, I appreciated the swift check-in at the Fairmont Hotel. The hotel complex comprises the Fairmont and the Swissôtel, and guests can use either property’s facilities, offering a vast number of dining establishments. I stayed in room 1717, a mini suite overlooking the city.
Arrival/Check-In: The Conrad Chicago’s lobby is on the 20th floor; I arrived early in the morning with my colleague, Carly Allen. As we made our way up to the lobby, we both hoped for some time to work before dashing to our first meeting. Unfortunately, our rooms weren’t ready, but the spacious, multilevel lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows boasting views of downtown Chicago offered plenty of comfortable areas to connect to the complimentary WiFi and answer emails. The reception staff was warm and welcoming; and by the time we returned from our first meeting, our rooms were ready and our bags were already waiting.
Arrival/Check-In: In the heart of Atlanta’s Midtown district I arrived at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta on a humid, overcast afternoon. Upon entering I was instantly greeted by the bellhop before being drawn to the gorgeous chandelier and grand staircase leading to the second level. Check-in went smoothly and only took a few minutes, as there was no line. The gentleman assisting me informed me my room, on the top floor, was ready and showed me to the elevators.
Arrival/Check-In: My overnight flight landed early in the morning, and I arrived at The Langham, London before 9 a.m. In the lobby I was directed to club level check-in on the third floor. In the lounge the friendly reception staff found me a table where I enjoyed a full breakfast spread before completing the check-in paperwork. My room wasn’t ready, so I set out for the day and picked up my keys at the lounge when I returned that afternoon; my bags had already been sent to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: The beauty of Singapore is you’re always just minutes from any given destination, so having landed at Changi Airport at 10 p.m., I arrived at Swissôtel The Stamford in 15 minutes. The lobby was still busy with travelers coming back from a stroll or a late dinner. While waiting my turn to check in, I checked out the large lobby, which boasts the Lobby Court and beautiful local flowers. Be aware the elevators are heavily trafficked and take about five minutes for each ride.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel with a colleague who had never been in Chicago before, and he remarked how windy it was as we exited the cab. I said, “Welcome to Chicago, the Windy City.” It had been an uneventful flight and a relatively quick trip into the city from O’Hare, so we were off to a good start for the two-day visit.
Arrival/Check-In: The Mandarin Oriental, Taipei is probably one of my favorite properties and in itself is a destination. The hotel is located about 40 minutes from Taoyuan International Airport via taxi and about 10 minutes from the city center, where Taipei 101 stands. I have been coming to Taipei my entire career, and the city has changed dramatically. This property is a reflection of the “beautification” of Taipei City.
Arrival/Check-In: In the heart of the hustle and bustle of Berlin we found ourselves arriving at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin on a sunny day, which also happened to be my birthday. The lobby featured a gorgeous chandelier and a Baroque-style staircase to the level above. Excited about the day ahead, we arrived quite early to check in, around 9 a.m. Of course, the room was not yet ready, but the staff kindly offered us coffee while we waited. Shortly afterward the room was ready, and we checked in within minutes. The friendly staff welcomed me with happy birthday wishes at check-in, and the wishes continued during my stay.
Arrival/Check-In: I traveled to Atlanta with GT publisher and CEO Francis X. Gallagher for meetings, and the lobby was abuzz when we arrived. Despite a short line, check-in was quick, even with the front desk attendant looking up my loyalty program information for me and adding it to my reservation. I thought it was a nice touch that she wrote her first name on my keycard holder so I could ask for her by name if I had any questions.
Arrival/Check-In: Landing early at Madeira Airport, an architectural marvel, we picked up our rental car for a little tour of Funchal before heading to the hotel. After taking the cable car to the peak in the village of Monte and the Botanical Gardens, we set our sights on checking in. The hotel lies just west of the center of town and up a high hill, offering spectacular views.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Mexico City on a beautiful early spring day — a light breeze and 75 degrees. I couldn’t ask for a better start to my day. The St. Regis offers car service from Benito Juárez International Airport, worth the extra spend for its convenience. However, Uber is up and running in Mexico City and offers a good alternative.
Arrival/Check-In: If I was ever more ready to sink into a hotel bed, this was the time. After a departure from Washington, D.C. (IAD) at nearly midnight and a layover in Casablanca (CMN), I arrived in Doha late at night, about 24 hours later, having lost a day in the process. I was eager to shower and sink into bed for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Thankfully, and despite the hotel still boasting a happening atmosphere at that later hour, check-in was quick. I was personally escorted to my guestroom.
Arrival/Check-In: After a two-hour flight delay from Philadelphia, my friend and I were eager to land in Charleston, where we quickly grabbed our luggage, called an Uber and made our way to French Quarter Inn. Our Uber driver was chatty, offering great insight into what to see and do around Charleston, and driving right past the tucked-away entrance to the hotel. It was still early afternoon, and our room wasn’t quite ready, but the friendly reception staff, who treated guests more like family, offered us a glass of Champagne while we waited on the terrace, enjoying a few moments of downtime.
Arrival/Check-In: Unfortunately, I fell ill during my trip to Dubai, and the ride from Dubai to Abu Dhabi felt much longer than one hour. Needless to say, I was quite happy when my Uber pulled up in front of the expansive Al Raha Beach Hotel. I must say, however, if there’s anything that could make a sick traveler feel better, it’s the waterfront views at Al Raha. I was equally pleased with the efficient check-in and thankful for the escort to my room, which meant I didn’t have to aimlessly wander the large property in search of my guestroom.
Arrival/Check-In: As you enter the lobby, you get a true sense you are in South Beach. People are dressed in white, lounge chairs and couches are arranged near the wall-to-wall windows as you gaze outside to Collins Avenue, in the heart of everything you want. A friendly front desk attendant provided my room key right away and quickly helped get my suitcase to the room with ease. I was invited to take a basket of locally grown fruit, and that’s exactly what I did as I walked toward the elevators and to my room on the third floor. On the way, I passed a small deli behind reception, which proved a good spot for midday snacks for my constantly hungry appetite.
Arrival/Check-In: It had been about a decade since my last visit to Miami, so I was excited to experience the city again. I looked forward to staying at the recently opened ME Miami Hotel — the first-ever U.S. destination from the brand, part of Meliá Hotels International. The hotel and resort group, one of the largest in the world, is known for its attention to detail and customer service. This was evident from the moment we arrived. The general manager, Ernesto Luna, greeted us with a warm smile and complimentary Champagne and gave us a tour of the hotel, including STK Miami restaurant and a modern and sleek lounge for meetings on the third floor. Our check-in was seamless, and the entire staff was both upbeat and professional.
Arrival/Check-In: I spent a long weekend in Charleston following a friend’s wedding on Folly Beach. As I arrived at Belmond Charleston Place well before check-in time, my room was not ready, so I ventured to brunch — a short walk down King Street that felt much longer when the skies opened up into a full-fledged storm. Needless to say, after a soggy meal I was relieved to receive a call from the hotel telling me my room was ready. I picked up my bags and keys and was on my way to my third-floor room in a matter of minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: This past December I traveled to California for Global Traveler’s 13th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards gala, hosted by The Peninsula Beverly Hills. Having been to the city only once before and hearing great things about the hotel, I was excited for my first stay and looked forward to the firsthand experience.
Arrival/Check-In: Los Angeles was my last stop on a week-long business trip that included meetings in Miami and Dallas. I arrived at Los Angeles International Airport late at night and, after an easy cab ride, was so happy to arrive at The London West Hollywood. Tucked away in the busy West Hollywood area, pulling into the 5-star property feels more like arriving at a private home.
Arrival/Check-In: The entrance to the 450-room property is beautiful and grand, and the valet parking attendants were spot-on, taking our car and luggage immediately. We arrived a little early, as I had a meeting to attend nearby. Upon arrival I learned the meeting had canceled, so we had time to relax and have lunch until our room was ready. After our meal we headed to our room, and shortly thereafter our luggage arrived along with some amenities from the property — a nice start to our stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the Hotel Mont Gabriel in the afternoon for a one-night stay. The road up to the hotel is quite steep and winding, so we initially missed the turn and needed to backtrack. Despite its tucked-away location within the Laurentian Mountains, the property feels welcoming. The lobby is rustic yet luxurious, and I waited just a few moments to check in. The friendly front desk attendant directed me toward the elevator to my room on the second floor.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Dallas at 6:30 p.m. Traffic was heavy with commuters; however, I traveled the miles from Dallas Love Field airport to the Omni Dallas via Uber in just under 20 minutes. The Omni Dallas is attached to the Dallas Convention Center, and with a convention going on I expected chaos. I was delightfully surprised how calming my entrance was. The Omni’s lobby features soaring ceilings, lots of seating areas and cool tones of marble, offering lots of natural light and room to move around. The front desk staff was friendly, and I was off to my room in just a few minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: We had been touring South Florida for several days, visiting Ritz-Carlton properties in Miami Beach and Naples before arriving in Sarasota. The hotel sits by the water and offers a great location for venturing to Siesta Key or to the local restaurant scene, which is progressive and chock-full of choices. We valet-parked our car and came into the lobby for a swift registration. We were slightly early and a little hungry, so we enjoyed a light lunch at Jack Dusty in the lobby area.
Arrival/Check-In: Chicago is one of my favorite U.S. cities, so I’m always eager to visit, especially around the holidays. Luckily, my recent visit coincided with the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and found me staying near the Water Tower, just off Michigan Avenue, my preferred area to stay when visiting the city. Unfortunately, my visit to Park Hyatt Chicago lasted only one night.
Arrival/Check-In: We arrived at Bora Bora Airport and made our way to the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora’s dedicated transfer boat. By chance, we were the only couple arriving on the island on that flight, so we enjoyed a private boat transfer to the property while wearing flower leis. It offered the perfect start to our honeymoon. Sailing up to the property is an experience I’ll never forget. The beautiful turquoise waters and exotic overwater bungalows provided a warm welcome. Once on land, one of the front desk attendants took us to a golf cart while the bellhop grabbed our luggage. She drove us directly to our suite for check-in.
Arrival/Check-In: After a long morning and early afternoon of touring Dubai, we checked into Room 337 of the One&Only Royal Mirage. We were swiftly taken to our Superior Gold Club suite, fully equipped with a butler and access to the club lounge. Check-in is through a side entrance and on the third floor for the Gold Club. This makes coming and going private, which is popular in Dubai and the Gulf. Our bags were immediately delivered and we settled in swiftly, as we had to leave at 4 p.m. for a desert safari that evening.
Arrival/Check-In: Dallas was one stop on a whirlwind U.S. trip that also included visits to Miami and Los Angeles in five days. I arrived in Dallas with my former colleague late on a Tuesday night, and after dealing with a rental car snafu, we ended up arriving later than expected for our one-night stay at one of Dallas’ finest hotels, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. Given the late hour, the speedy check-in process was much appreciated; however, I do wish we’d had more time overall to enjoy the hotel.
Arrival/Check-In: The Dead Sea has to be on anyone’s ticket of “must sees” when visiting Israel or Jordan. We had spent the previous day at the Beresheet Hotel (see GT Tested July 2016), and it took us a little longer than expected to arrive at the property on the Dead Sea.
Arrival/Check-In: After spending several business and pleasure days in Dubai, we drove to Abu Dhabi to the lovely Rosewood Hotel, located just across from the famed Cleveland Clinic on Al Maryah Island on Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, directly connected to The Galleria shopping center.
Arrival/Check-In: It was Dubai Fashion Week, and the host hotel turned out to be The St. Regis. A runway had been set up out front, and there was a tremendous buzz about the place. Check-in took a few minutes, but we were escorted to seats and offered refreshments while staff caught up with those who had arrived just before us. Within a few minutes we were seated at the check-in desk and taken to our room. The hotel is grand, with Beaux-Arts architecture reminiscent of The St. Regis New York; the interior takes you back to 18th-century classical design. Sweeping staircases in the lobby immediately attract your eye to the upper floor and the ornate design and venues located there.
Arrival/Check-In: I was traveling to Miami for a meeting with my former colleague, Olivia Falcione. After an early-morning flight from Philadelphia to Miami, we arrived well before our check-in time at Royal Palm South Beach Miami, the first hotel announced as part of Starwood’s Tribute Portfolio. The property’s history dates to 1939, when it was built as a four-story resort before being expanded two years later.
Arrival/Check-In: If there is any hotel with a grand entrance, Jumeirah Emirates Towers is it. The atrium lobby gives a true feeling of space, something I’m not accustomed to, given my frequent New York City hotel stays. As you enter the hotel, you can’t help but notice The Lobby Lounge in the middle, filled with patrons enjoying drinks and snacks. The desk staff checked me in and escorted me to my suite. Multiple glass elevators toward the back of the lobby speed guests to their rooms.
Arrival/Check-In: While a plethora of high-end hotels exists in Chicago, when it comes to history, The Drake does not have much competition. The property joined the Historic Hotels of America in 2014; with a history dating to 1920, The Drake served as a high society favorite in the Roaring Twenties and continues to delight guests through the modern day. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio even carved their initials into the hotel’s Cape Cod Room’s bar in the 1950s.
Arrival/Check-In: My TAP Portugal flight arrived in Lisbon early in the morning, which brought up some questions regarding hotel check-in. Although Penha Longa Resort is located in Sintra and check-in is in the afternoon, I was hoping to get into my room early and enjoy a little shuteye before exploring the property. The receptionist who helped me check in could see how tired I was. She kindly suggested I enjoy the breakfast at the resort while staff rushed to get my room ready. By the time I was finished with my meal, my room was waiting for me.
Arrival/Check-In: After a day of road-tripping up the coast of California from Los Angeles to Monterey County and then to Paso Robles, I arrived at the hotel late at night and parked for free in the property’s large lot. Check-in was quick, taking less than five minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel after midnight, but the lobby and adjoining restaurant and bar still seemed lively. I checked in with ease in just a few minutes and headed upstairs to my guestroom with luggage in tow. The front desk staff was wonderfully helpful and welcoming, assuring me if I had any questions regarding the hotel or the city itself they would be more than happy to assist.
Arrival/Check-In: On an overnight visit to New York City, my former colleague, Olivia Falcione, and I stayed at Trump International Hotel & Tower. With an enviable Central Park location, the hotel enjoys an advantage over the competition with its unbelievable views. Upon arrival, the friendly doormen escorted us inside to check in. I was surprised by the size of the lobby — it’s small and somewhat plain in comparison to other hotels. I suppose I was expecting more grandiosity. Check-in was quick, and within minutes we were on our way to our executive city one-bedroom suite.
Arrival/Check-In: After a day of business in Atlanta, GT’s publisher and I arrived at the Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, located in the Buckhead area of the city.We pulled up to the easy-to-locate property, directly across from Del Frisco’s Steakhouse. The valet attendant gave us a warm welcome and swiftly handled our luggage and started our check-in process. We were escorted to the front desk where two attendants assisted us. After a day of back-to-back meetings, we appreciated the quick and convenient check-in.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving late after touring the Sea of Galilee, we chose to overnight at The Scots Hotel in the closest town, Tiberias. The Church of Scotland built the original structure as a hospital, set up by David Watt Torrance, a Scottish surgeon who saw medicine and treating the sick in the Holy Land as his calling.
Arrival/Check-In: Whether you’re a frequent celebrity visitor or a guest of the Viceroy L’Ermitage, there are eyes on you … primarily, the staffs’. Lobby doors open as your car pulls up. A waiter in Viceroy’s exciting new bistro, Avec Nous, notices a woman rub her arms against a chill and rushes over with a handsome shawl. At the Viceroy L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, service isn’t just delivered — it’s anticipated.
Arrival/Check-In: The hotel is situated in the center of the city with expansive views from atop one of the seven hills. I want to make a point to say the grand centerpiece in the middle of the lobby was simply breathtaking, donned with hanging orchids and exotic flowers. It mesmerized me, and I caught myself staring at it for a few minutes before heading to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: After driving through the Judean desert to Jerusalem, we stopped at a popular spot to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Given my family’s religious background and love of movies and history, I felt like Judah Ben Hur returning to capture what was rightly mine.
Arrival/Check-In: I entered Hyatt Times Square New York on a Friday afternoon to a busy reception desk; around 3 p.m., everyone was checking in at the same time. While I did wait in line for a bit, the overall check-in process was efficient, despite the chaotic appearance of the lobby upon arrival. The staff’s friendly demeanor and obvious willingness to assist also aided the process.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel at 2 a.m. on Saturday. Although I was in town on business, I made certain I arrived a day and a half early to enjoy the marina as much as possible. The front desk coordinator greeted me with a plate of sweets and apple tea. Afraid it would affect my sleep, I chose to eat the sweets and skip the tea. Check-in only lasted a few minutes but included a thorough explanation of the property and its restaurants, bars and other services. The list went on and on; I was impressed. For anyone traveling to this property, keep in mind daily resort fees are added to your stay and include the use of the beach, towels and other amenities.
Arrival/Check-In: A car service from THE PLAZA Seoul picked me up at Gimpo International Airport. The hotel lies about 40 minutes from Gimpo, situated in the heart of Seoul City and surrounded by cultural assets like Deoksu Palace, Gyeongbuk Palace and City Hall. It is also central to the shopping, entertainment and business districts. I visited the property before but never had the chance to stay and experience the newly renovated 5-star hotel.
Arrival/Check-In: Check-in was confusing, largely caused by my group as we debated whether to add a half-day to our check-out rather than spend a few hours homeless. We chose to check out in the morning, which might not have been the best decision in retrospect. The poor check-in clerk was a little befuddled by the back and forth. When we were finally ready, the staff showed us to our rooms and delivered all of our oversized bags. The view of the Mediterranean was spectacular.
Arrival/Check-In: Having passed through Israel and dealing with one of our party who had to secure an “on-the-spot” Jordanian passport, we stopped at the historic Roman city of Jerash on the way to Petra with our guide from Isram Tours. The Isram staff members are spectacular, and I made huge points showing them pictures of Queen Noor and me at an event I hosted in New York many years ago. Queen Noor is much-loved by the Jordanians; she is largely responsible for the fine relations between the United States and Jordan.
Arrival/Check-In: Loews Regency Hotel is an iconic New York City hotel — credited with the development of the “power breakfast” concept — with an enviable Park Avenue location. I was eager to experience the property for myself on an overnight visit earlier this year. I was not disappointed. I arrived late afternoon and was pleased with my quick, efficient check-in, as I was heading out for an evening event and needed to change.
Arrival/Check-In: As soon as the taxi pulled up to the entrance, I knew I’d be enjoying all the convenience that would come with the location alone. With an unassuming, quaint exterior, the property sits in the heart of the city, in a historic district between the bohemian Bairro Alto and cultural, chic and trendy Chiado, two of the most iconic neighborhoods of Lisbon. Check-in was a breeze. I was greeted by my name as soon as I walked up, as they had been waiting for me. Within minutes, I was escorted to my room on the third floor.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Auckland early in the morning, around 7 a.m. The hotel had my flight itinerary and kindly offered an early check-in so I could freshen up from my long flight and get settled. I found this exceptional and extremely thoughtful. Check-in took about 10 minutes, and the front desk provided excellent service and directions to my room and other facilities on the property.
Arrival/Check-In: After an early-morning flight from Philadelphia, senior vice president Richard Evans and I arrived to an exceptionally warm welcome at The Peninsula Chicago. We were greeted by name and escorted from the groundfloor entrance to the lobby several floors above. The lobby area boasts a check-in desk and a sitting area, but to the right lies an open area with the concierge desk and the restaurant. Light pours in through the large restaurant windows, brightening the entire space. We were each personally escorted to our 9th- and 10th-floor executive suites.
Arrival/Check-In: After a lengthy flight from back East (Philadelphia) and the now all-too-common Los Angeles traffic snarl, it was wonderful to encounter efficient, smiling doormen and bellmen at the crescent-shaped, sweeping entrance of the Sofitel. I was accompanied to the two-person check-in station; the Sofitel Beverly Hills needs no more than two desk personnel most times — again, efficiency was the name of the game. Check-in took just more than five minutes, and a staff person escorted me to my room while informing me of the hotel features (fitness center, spa, pool, bar/nightclub, area destinations, The Beverly Center across the street and more). Once in my room, I had a few minutes before a late afternoon meeting to take my first look at one of the hotel’s superior king guestrooms.
Arrival/Check-In: My 35-minute ride from Salt Lake City International Airport to Park City seemed like a journey in a snow globe, with constant snowflakes falling and views of the majestic, powder-clad Wasatch Mountains. As an avid skier and first-timer to Utah with two days of skiing on my itinerary, I was excited to quickly check in to the ski-in/ski-out Grand Summit Hotel in the heart of Canyons Village and explore the most groomed terrain in North America. A $50 million transformation launched last year by Vail Resorts connected famed Park City and neighbor Canyons Resort to create the largest resort in the United States, boasting 7,300 acres of skiable terrain.
Arrival/Check-In: After spending the day in Petra, Jordan, we followed an ancient spice route through the Negev Desert and crossed the border into Israel. We made our way to the Beresheet Hotel, which sits 2,625 feet above sea level on top of the Ramon Crater. Unlike impact craters, Ramon was formed by water erosion. The sprawling complex is completely made of native stone.
Arrival/Check-In: After enduring a long customs line at the airport, I appreciated the friendly and efficient arrival and check-in at The Hard Rock Hotel. The valet assisted me with my bags and helped me out of the car before another host approached to whisk me past the main lobby to a smaller room guarded by velvet ropes, clearly marked the VIP section. Lush velvet furniture adorned the room where my host and personal assistant offered Champagne and provided a run-down of the property. The entire check-in process took about five minutes as the friendly staff took care of my luggage, passport details and guided me through the Rock Royalty package. With two separate properties at my disposal, I was thankful for the overview. Guest Quarters: The attentiveness did not end there. My host escorted me to the room and showed me around, listing everything available to me during my stay. The room was very much in the Hard Rock style, complete with spotlights, dark walls and a silver leather headboard on the king-sized bed, nestled between the balcony and the large tub. The bathroom area — containing a large standing shower with a glass door across from the double sink, large vanity and full-length mirror — served as a dressing room with a spacious closet nearby. Services/Amenities: The Rock Royalty all-inclusive package makes many unique amenities available to guests. There are two room service menus, one for the all-inclusive guests and another for the Rock Royalty package. Both offer full access to the several on-site bars and restaurants, while the Rock Royalty menu adds a few special items such as an aromatherapy pillow and room infusion scents. One amenity I found unique to The Hard Rock Hotel but didn’t take advantage of was the Sound of Your Stay service which delivers a Fender guitar to your room along with headphones and an iPad to play and record music. As for nightlife, the Heaven Bar was VIP, complete with bottle service, swanky décor and an indoor pool area serving as a dance floor. The Heaven side of the hotel offered an active event itinerary for both day and night that did not disappoint. The Experience: Overall, my stay at the Riviera Maya Hard Rock Hotel was relaxing and fun. I especially enjoyed a daytrip to the local cenotes, one of several excursions the hotel arranges for guests. Three days of rain at a resort can make it difficult to come away with a positive experience, but thanks to the all-inclusive package and lively nightlife, the weather didn’t put a damper on my stay. The nightlife and musical theme make The Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya unique in the luxury all-inclusive game — a visit I’d recommend for night owls, beach lovers and music enthusiasts.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Taipei on a Sunday afternoon from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and hopped in a cab. The Grand Hyatt Taipei is located in the Xinyi district (the city’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan district), directly next to Taipei 101, Taipei World Trade Center and Taipei International Convention Center. Many shops and entertainment venues also reside nearby — talk about a convenient location for a luxury business and leisure traveler. Upon my arrival, hotel staff warmly greeted me and escorted me to the front desk in the grand, open lobby. After a fast and smooth check-in, up to the room I went. Francis X. Gallagher, CEO and publisher, Global Traveler, had arrived from Dubai earlier that day, and we met in the Grand Club Lounge to catch up over a drink. Guest Quarters: My Grand Club Premier King room made a great first impression. The newly renovated room offered a chic East-meets-West contemporary design and sweeping panoramic views of the mountains and Taipei 101. Measuring about 540 square feet, the room included a living space and a separate bedroom. An oversized work desk and complimentary wireless high-speed internet made it easy to get work done. I found the modern marble bathroom with separate tub and walk-in shower both beautiful and convenient and the extensive closet space impressive. The bathroom offered June Jacobs amenities. Cozy, high-quality bedding and pillows made the king-sized bed comfortable. Services/Amenities: Grand Club access provided quite a nice perk during my stay at the Grand Hyatt Taipei. Fran and I not only met for a drink at the Grand Club Lounge, we also ate breakfast here each morning before our long days of meetings. The lounge boasts great service and satisfying culinary options. The Grand Hyatt Taipei features 11 restaurant options; we chose to indulge in a beautiful dim sum lunch at Yun Jin restaurant. It did not disappoint! I especially enjoyed sampling the hairy crab, only available during that season from a certain part of China. Before our days began, I utilized the 24-hour gymnasium at Club Oasis and enjoyed great workout sessions. Multiple rooms offer a wide range of exercise equipment in addition to amazing views of Taipei. The Experience: The Grand Hyatt Taipei provided a wonderful stay, and I would absolutely return. Conveniently located for business and leisure travelers, the hotel provides anything guests might need during their stay.
Arrival/Check-In: The House Hotel Cappadocia, in the town of Ortahisar, overlooks the area’s fortress and fairy chimneys. Housed in a complex of ancient caves and stone houses, the hotel exuded the feel of an intimate apartment complex rather than a hotel, but it certainly wasn’t lacking for luxury amenities. My stay came after the hotel’s first phase opening in July 2015; Phase One boasted 29 rooms, and its second phase, coming soon, will complete the hotel with 45 rooms. Check-in was quick with a friendly attendant at the unassuming front desk. Off to the right of the front desk, the lobby offered comfortable seating but also seemed less like a typical hotel lobby and more like an intimate living room in a private home. Guest Quarters: What truly makes The House Hotel Cappadocia unique is that each guestroom is different — no two rooms look alike. My deluxe room opened into a light-filled space, with a fireplace angled in the left corner and a padded bench and cabinet in front. To the right sat the king-sized bed, with a desk and mounted TV directly across. The bathroom was spacious. The guestrooms do have a few elements in common, including but not limited to Turkish marble floors and bathrooms, heated or cooled floors, stone walls, blackout curtains, LCD TVs, iPod docking stations, rainfall showerheads and Lokum Istanbul amenities. My in-room fireplace was an added perk. I had only a short, one-night stay that left me longing for more time in my gorgeous, comfortable guestroom that uniquely blended ancient elements with modern design and technology. Services/Amenities: Fresko Restaurant has indoor seating as well as a large terrace and serves Turkish cuisine. With a stone oven, local specialties are prepared as well. Design touches include frescoes and original stone arches. Room service is available from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., and a bar will be opening on the reception level. I enjoyed dinner one evening, and the breakfast spread filled me up before my international flight the morning of my departure. The romantic underground chapel began hosting weddings, concerts and other meetings for up to 100 people in January this year. The hotel’s underground spa features a Turkish hammam, sauna, steam rooms, four treatment rooms and two adventure showers. The Experience: My visit to The House Hotel Cappadocia, albeit brief, delivered all the modern, luxury conveniences I crave with the unique twist of its location. The House Hotel Collection also includes properties in Bosporus, Nişantaşi, Vault Karakoy and Galatasaray.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at Traders Hotel on a Friday evening after a full day of meetings in Kuala Lumpur. The hotel, recognizable from all angles of the city, is quite grand. The location is perfect for business travelers, convenient to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the Petronas Twin Towers and Merdeka Square. Suria KLCC shopping mall and other shopping districts and tourist attractions lie within walking distance. Check-in took about 10 minutes; it was a busy time to check in, especially on a Friday night. Otherwise, I’m sure it would have been faster. The front desk attendants were helpful and walked me through all the amenities and options available for dining — a warm welcome indeed. Guest Quarters: As I walked into my room, I was immediately blown away by the view of the Twin Towers literally staring right at me. The KLCC Park surrounding the towers also made for a beautiful view. I felt grateful in this moment. As night came on, the towers lit up like diamonds, and they were truly mesmerizing. To the left of the entry, a large closet offered plenty of space and a roomy safe. To the right, the up-to-date bathroom featured a separate bath and shower. Straight ahead were the executive writing desk and flat-screen TV, followed by the bed and sitting area. I was glad Traders Hotel made U.S. and major international news channels available. Guestrooms also feature free WiFi. My room was incredibly comfortable and modernized. Exhausted after my first week in Southeast Asia, all I wanted to do was rest. I melted into the comfy king-sized bed right away and enjoyed a great night’s sleep. Services/Amenities: The property includes two chic restaurants. Breakfasts at the all-day buffet Gobo Chit Chat were delicious and featured international cuisine. Other amenities include a rooftop infinity pool with a poolside bar, a fitness center and a spa with a sauna and steam bath. Business guests appreciate the meeting rooms, business center, complimentary local area shuttle, laundry and valet service and limo services with WiFi. After checking in on Friday, I stopped at SkyBar for a drink and an even cooler view of the infinity pool overlooking the city. What a trendy vibe! On Saturday morning I indulged in a 60-minute Freedom massage at theSPA, located on the rooftop and offering views of KL’s urban skyline. The spa attendants were incredibly thorough and made sure I was comfortable and relaxed. The massage was heavenly — exactly what I needed after bouncing around the world and sleeping in different beds each night. Each day I also hit the state-of-the-art, 24-hour gym overlooking the city and KLCC Park. I was impressed with the health center; it had everything a fitness junkie like me needs on a business trip — free towels, water and fruit included. The Experience: I enjoyed a wonderful weekend stay at Traders Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. This luxury 4-star hotel has everything a business and leisure traveler can ask for. Traders Hotel definitely knows how to cater to the luxury business traveler. I would absolutely stay at this property again.
Arrival/Check-In: I flew into Seoul from Taiwan on a Tuesday evening and stayed at Lotte Hotel until my departure Saturday. Lotte Hotel is located downtown in the heart of Seoul near Myeongdong, Seoul’s Central Business District, among other business and tourist attractions. I had a good feeling about this 5-star luxury property from the minute the Mercedes-Benz car service approached the hotel. The outside was beautifully decorated with white lights for the holiday season — a delightful effect that got me into the holiday spirit. I was escorted to the front desk, where check-in took less than 10 minutes, and then guided to my suite. Guest Quarters: My Club Floor deluxe suite in the Main Building featured views of the city. I knew I’d be staying in a suite, but I had no idea it would be bigger than most U.S. apartments (at least those in Santa Monica, Calif., where I live). Needless to say, this suite comfortably accommodates more than one person. Lotte Hotel knows how to deliver a massive, newly renovated and stylish luxury suite. It impressed me at first glance. The grand suite entrance opened on a hallway leading to the living space, with the first small bathroom to the right. The living space included a sitting area with a couch, chairs, a coffee table and a flat-screen television. A dining table with seating for six provided ideal space for those traveling with family or hosting a business meeting. An executive writing desk along the windows included all things necessary during a business trip. I found all the office supplies quite useful during my stay. The bedroom, a completely separate room, featured another sitting area. The spacious closet included some laundry amenities. Lotte Hotel uses he:on brand bedding, which is becoming popular among global markets. I slept well on the king-sized bed thanks to the bedding and pillows. If I could replicate the bathroom in this suite at home, I would. The layout of the double vanity sink, makeup area, separate shower, bathtub and toilet was just right. Services/Amenities: The hotel features two establishments: the Main Building and the New Wing. The New Wing offers a 3-Michelin-star restaurant, Pierre Gagnaire à Seoul. There are six restaurants on property, including a tasty bakery. The Club Lounge on the 31st floor of the Main Building lays claim to the largest exclusive business lounge in Korea. I enjoyed a delicious breakfast here nearly every day during my stay. Room service dining offers diverse options of Korean, American, Japanese and healthy cuisine, appealing to most international travelers’ taste buds. Other on-site amenities include a business center, a salon, a fitness center, a sauna, the Sulwhasoo Spa and an indoor pool. All guestrooms include free WiFi. Meeting and wedding venues are available. The staff speaks Korean, English, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. Tourist attractions in walking distance and accessible by public transportation include Lotte Duty Free, Namdaemun Market, Insadong, Gyeongbokgung and Deoksugung. The Experience: Lotte Hotel Seoul is perfection. I did not want to leave my suite. I was beyond comfortable and content during my stay — I was ready to move in! The design of the suite screams luxury and clearly caters to VIP clients. The Lotte brand is globally recognized for its luxury, class and sophistication. Lotte Hotel Seoul represents this world-renowned reputation well. Staying at Lotte Hotel made my first trip to Seoul even more memorable.
Arrival/Check-In: When it comes to unique accommodations, Argos in Cappadocia may just claim the No. 1 spot. Located on the site of an ancient monastery in Old Uçhisar Village in Cappadocia, Turkey, the hotel is housed in the carefully restored remains of historic dwellings, underground tunnels and caves. I arrived at night, and the lobby was warm with a cozy, living room-like vibe and a blazing fire. Keep in mind: Argos in Cappadocia is built into the natural surroundings, which may make it difficult for those with disabilities to navigate. However, staff is on hand to help with luggage. I checked in quickly and was shown to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at The St. Regis after my business meetings on my first day in Singapore. Truly, this is a luxury business traveler’s dream hotel. The property screams timeless elegance from the moment you set foot on the grounds, and the entrance and lobby exude the luxurious vibe you expect from a St. Regis hotel. It is located in the heart of the city’s premier shopping district, Orchard Road, and near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Singapore Botanic Gardens.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Kuala Lumpur after a short flight from Singapore. I hopped in a cab and headed to the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel during a torrential rainstorm, common for November, the rainy season. At first glance, the hotel has a local Malaysian feel. Check-in took a little longer than expected, but the staff was friendly and helpful. There was a lovely Deepavali display in the lobby near the entrance.
Arrival/Check-In: We were looking forward to spending some time in the birthplace of the Gallagher clan, Donegal, and we were not disappointed. Friends at Tourism Ireland suggested we stay at Lough Eske Castle, close to Lough Eske in a pristine 43-acre forest.
Arrival/Check-In: We were looking forward to spending some time in the birthplace of the Gallagher clan, Donegal, and we were not disappointed. Friends at Tourism Ireland suggested we stay at Lough Eske Castle, close to Lough Eske in a pristine 43-acre forest.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived after a long flight from Los Angeles to Singapore via Taipei. This was my first trip to Singapore, and I am delighted to say I cannot wait to go back! After easily collecting my belongings at Changi Airport, I headed to the Pan Pacific, centrally located in the city directly across from the famous Marina Bay Sands. I provided my flight details when I booked the room, and as soon as I arrived, the staff knew who I was and had a friendly host waiting for me at the front who escorted me to my quarters after providing a quick tour. She checked me in inside my guestroom. It was almost a virtual check-in experience instead of going to the front desk. The process, efficient and warm, made a perfect first impression.
Arrival/Check-In: I actually had two arrivals at the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul. I had been on an around-the-world trip, flying from Washington, D.C., to Dubai and then on to Seoul. This presented me with a weekend in Korea and an overnight in Seoul before continuing to Taiwan. I left a bag containing half of my clothing at the Four Seasons so I would be a little leaner on the rest of the trip before returning to Seoul. When I returned, the Four Seasons car service picked me up at Incheon International Airport and we headed to the property, dropping off a colleague at another hotel nearby (which took more negotiation than it should have). Arriving at the Four Seasons, I was greeted by the friendly staff and escorted to my lovely and beautiful suite, where my luggage was waiting for me without my having to say a word or show a ticket. That meant a great deal to me and is a sign of excellent service.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving in the afternoon at Los Angeles International Airport and already late for dinner, I was anxious to get checked into my hotel and quickly change my clothes. Driving through Los Angeles in the middle of rush hour was not fun, but the staff at the Andaz made my stay pleasant as soon as I got out of the taxi. After the doorman welcomed me, a “host” immediately greeted me — before I even realized there wasn’t a front desk. My check-in time was less than five minutes, and I was offered a complimentary glass of wine, though I declined.
Arrival/Check-In: After an early-morning flight, we arrived at the Sofitel at about 9 a.m., well before standard check-in time. The front desk attendant offered to call me when a room was available and said he would put a rush on one. The doorman gave us several close options for breakfast and also directed us to a shopping district within a short walk where I could pick up a couple of essentials I forgot.
Arrival/Check-In: Although tired from a 13-hour flight to Dubai, we appreciated the warm welcome from the hotel valet, the doorman and the check-in team at the front desk. I knew I was going to feel right at home. Everyone else we came into contact with also gave a warm, welcoming smile that felt genuine. Check-in was hassle-free with a quick overview of the hotel, what was included in our stay and how to best enjoy our time in Dubai. We also enjoyed a delicious green tea drink at the front desk, a pleasant surprise.
Arrival/Check-In: When I arrived at The Peninsula Beverly Hills for the 2015 GT Tested Reader Survey awards ceremony, I was pleased to find the fashionably furnished lobby mostly clear, and I barely had to wait to check in. The front desk staff was very pleasant and helpful, and I was soon on my way. Since I only had a small carry-on with me, I declined the offered assistance in getting to my room and headed off in search of it. As I went, I admired the continuation of the elegant décor.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills after a 13-plus-hour flight from İstanbul, and I was grateful for the warm welcome I received from the staff. In just the time it took me to swipe my credit card in the taxi, my bags had been taken inside and the front-desk attendant was looking up my reservation. The doorman had a big smile on his face as he held the door for me, and within five minutes I was escorted to the elevators. Since I had to quickly shower and meet my cousin for dinner, I opted to take my bags to the room with me, but the staff was more than willing to assist. On my way to my room, I had my first celebrity sighting — of the four-legged variety. The dog model for the Cesar dog food brand was peacefully lying down as his handlers consulted the concierge.
Arrival/Check-In: Before my trip to İstanbul, whenever someone asked where I was staying and I named Çirağan Palace Kempinski, I was met with the same reply, “That’s the best place to stay in İstanbul!” Now, after my stay, I can say with confidence to another traveler to the Turkish city that the hotel definitely will not disappoint. After an overnight flight from New York, having a personal check-in at a little desk off to the side was much appreciated. After a few minutes of paperwork, I was en route to my Bosphorus-view room, ready to catch two hours of rest and relaxation before dinner that evening.
Arrival/Check-In: I was greeted by two doormen prepared to open the doors upon my arrival. As I stepped inside, a host greeted me, escorted me to the registration area and introduced me to a gentleman who checked me in. An attendant escorted me and my bags to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: The drive from San Juan International Airport to Condado Vanderbilt Hotel took 20 minutes. The transition from the congested city streets of San Juan’s Condado neighborhood to an oasis of Old World elegance was instantaneous. My husband and I stepped over the threshold and into a sophisticated marble lobby centered on a striking circular staircase and opening to an elegant lounge with floor-to-ceiling vistas of the ocean beyond. Our room wasn’t quite ready, so we left our luggage at the front desk and headed for Ola, the hotel’s oceanfront casual dining venue. By the time we ordered lunch at the pool bar — pulled beef sliders and salt-rimmed margaritas — our room was ready.
Arrival/Check-In: In no traffic, Hangzhou is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Shanghai or about 45 minutes on the high-speed train. Following my flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai, I arrived late in the evening to Hangzhou and made my way to the lobby of the Zheijiang Grand Hotel, located on the building’s 25th floor. Check-in was quick, and I was in my room within minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: My colleague and I had been in Miami for two days before we checked in at Sense Beach House on a Friday. Our rooms were not ready when we first arrived, but a front desk attendant watched our bags while we headed out to afternoon meetings and dinner. Don’t enter expecting a formal front desk; the check-in attendant sits at a small desk and kindly handles requests in an attentive yet laid-back and low-key manner. There’s no official doorman, but there is valet service.
Arrival/Check-In: After an early-morning flight from Cairo and with a full itinerary for the day, I was glad the drive from Luxor International Airport to Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa proved quick and free of traffic, allowing extra time for freshening up in my guestroom before a busy day. Check-in was even quicker than the 15-minute drive and more enjoyable, complete with a refreshing welcome drink, a rose and a cold facecloth, which I greatly appreciated in the 110-degree weather. The clean, stylish lobby provided an excellent view of the hotel grounds, featuring gorgeous pools and multiple cabanas, with the sparkling Nile in the distance.
Arrival/Check-In: I’d missed my connecting flight to Los Angeles and arrived at LAX much later than anticipated. Luckily, The Georgian, my home for the next three nights, is conveniently located in Santa Monica, an easy taxi ride from the airport. After 11 p.m. in Los Angeles, it felt like 2 a.m. to this East Coaster, and I was grateful for the quick, no-fuss check-in process. I was riding the elevator to my eighth-floor suite in a matter of minutes and asleep just as quickly.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving directly from the airport, my colleague and I had no problem finding the brightly lit and highly visible Fairmont Dallas property. We pulled up to the front entrance, and within minutes a valet took our rental car. We made our way to the check-in desk, eager to settle into our rooms. Two desk attendants checked us both in at once. It took all of five minutes, and we were on our way to our rooms.
Arrival/Check-In: Depending on the destination, I either wing it from the aiport or arrange for a driver. China is one destination where I prefer a pick-up, and The Ritz-Carlton, Beijing met my wife and me in style in a beautiful Rolls Royce. Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly hotel staff and whisked to our spectacular room. All check-in details were taken care of at the desk in the guestroom for my convenience.
Arrival/Check-In: I recently traveled with a colleague to Texas for a series of meetings in Dallas and Houston. After a productive day in Dallas, we took a short flight to Houston and went to the ZaZa Hotel. ZaZa is a Texas-based boutique property with locations in Dallas, Houston and one on the way in Austin. As we arrived, the strings of lights illuminating the driveway provided a warm welcome, and the valets tended to our vehicle and luggage quickly and professionally. At the registration desk, cheerful hosts greeted us and helped us on our way to our rooms. There was also a clever display of Tootsie Pops on the counter, a nice touch for guests after a long day of travel.
Arrival/Check-In: Pulling into the Conrad Miami, we were immediately greeted by a number of friendly valets. Shortly after arriving, we were in the elevator headed to the 25th-floor lobby. Guests should note, you arrive at ground level, take the elevators to the 25th floor and then use another bank of elevators to access your guestroom. With no one else waiting to check in, my colleague and I were assisted quickly. I asked the front desk attendant for a lunch recommendation, and he offered several options. He was friendly, and we chatted as he checked me in. After a quick trip to drop off our bags, we headed back out the door for lunch and more meetings. Interesting artwork is displayed in the lobby.
Arrival/Check-In: After a long journey from Heathrow Airport, we were greeted by the fine staff at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower. We were thrilled to be in the heart of London, accessible to everything. My daughter was particularly excited to be near some of the greatest shopping in London’s Knightsbridge.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving at Villa Aquamare is more like coming home to your own private Caribbean estate than any check-in I’ve ever experienced. My husband and I arrived on Virgin Gorda via Air Sunshine from San Juan, taxiing along a sandy runway — ocean on one side and dunes on the other — and deplaned at a modest, one-story wooden building that serves as the lone gate as well as Customs and Immigration for entry into the British Virgin Islands. After a pleasant encounter with a friendly immigration officer, we pushed through the door to find our host, William Matthews, waiting for us. Again, it was like old home week; William’s relaxed manner eased our transition to island time, and he happily stopped at a local grocery market so we could pick up provisions for our four-night stay. Upon arrival at the villa, William helped us carry our bags and groceries inside and proceeded to help us stock the refrigerator and cabinets.
Arrival/Check-In: Following a 15-hour journey from New York City to Dubai by way of Amman, Jordan, I arrived at The Palace Hotel Downtown Dubai at about 2 a.m. The trip to the hotel from the airport takes about 30 minutes, although traffic at that hour is nominal compared to rush hour.
Arrival/Check-In: We selected Charleston as a halfway point on a journey south; we always wanted to see this beautiful historic town. It was also my first time traveling with a pet; our Dalmatian, Ella, seemed to anticipate the journey with excitement.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Singapore in the evening after a long flight from Korea and took advantage of The Ritz-Carlton’s gratis pickup in a sleek Mercedes at Changi Airport. My driver offered me water, WiFi and friendly chatter during the short ride to the hotel. The sweeping driveway leads to one of the most impressive entrances and lobbies I have seen. The valet ushered me through a floor-to-ceiling geometric glass entryway that spilled light into the two-story, marbled lobby filled with art and custom sculptures. At the registration desk, hidden off to the side, a staff member greeted me and showed me to my room for a quick in-room check-in.
Arrival/Check-In: I drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco on a weekend; the weather and traffic were just fine. But the InterContinental sits on a busy one-way street in the heart of the city right next to the convention center, and congested traffic is the norm. The hotel driveway was backed up so I waited about five minutes before turning my car over to the valet. The lobby is a nice mix of white marble and dark wood alongside gem-colored chairs and lounge space. The registration desk sits off to the right. A friendly staff member helped me check in and escorted me to the elevators midway through the lobby. On my way, I scoped out the location of the bar and the Michelin-rated restaurant, Luce, situated farther into the first-floor space.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the new Taj Dubai property a bit past midnight after a long trip from New York. A friendly doorman greeted me as I entered the lobby, which was still quite lively for the hour. At the front desk I was directed to an open desk and seat where I began the check-in process. While waiting for the attendant to review the details of my reservation, I was presented with a cold towel and a refreshing tea beverage, which was just what I needed. Within minutes, staff escorted me to the elevators which brought me to the appropriate floor. I was satisfied with the quick and concise check-in process — essential after any type of long-haul travel.
Arrival/Check-In: My friend Megan and I arrived at Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa, after a long (but tasty!) day of touring Alcatraz, driving from San Francisco in a heavy rainstorm, enjoying lunch at Long Meadow Ranch and a tasting at Peju. It was a late November afternoon, so it was dark when we arrived and parked. Parking is complimentary but a bit of a walk to check-in. We were in town for Flavor! Napa Valley, a celebration of all things food and wine; and Silverado, the expansive resort, spa and golf course set on 1,200 acres in the heart of Napa, was one of the host hotels for the festival. While busy, resort staff checked us in quickly and drove us in a golf cart to our one-bedroom suite.
Arrival/Check-In: My flight to Belfast landed ahead of schedule, and I arrived at the Europa Hotel Belfast for my two-night stay before normal check-in hours. I left my luggage with the helpful front desk attendant and left for an early meeting. My bags were waiting for me in my room when I returned in the afternoon.
Arrival/Check In: I arrived in Seattle on a Saturday afternoon. There was light traffic in downtown Seattle, and I found the W Seattle easily. I drove my rental car to the side entrance of the hotel where the friendly valet helped with my bags. This side glass door immediately brought me to the check-in desk. One person was in line before me, so I had a few moments to take in the lobby. Down a few steps, the main lobby opened up into a work of art, with natural light spilling into the space through two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows. Pops of pink and orange furniture complemented the muted silver tones. Although abstract lighting fixtures fit in with the true W modern and funky décor, the glassed-in fireplace completed the room with a comforting feel. Once I checked in, I rode the elevator to the mid-level floor. The hallways were extremely dark, with blue mood lighting enabling guests to see room numbers.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Hong Kong on a pleasant Thursday afternoon. Due to Occupy Central protesting, I expected some traffic; however, it took only about 40 minutes to travel from Hong Kong Airport to The Ritz-Carlton. The hotel is located on the top floors of the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon, giving a feel of class, business and amazing views. Valets personally greet you at the drive and escort you to the elevator, where you’re directed to the 103rd floor. The vast lobby opens into dark marble, wood and soft lighting, and it bustles with guests. Just to the left is the concierge; within minutes I was pleasantly checked in, given instructions to the club level and taken to my room on the 116th floor.
Arrival/Check-In: We left Belfast early so I could make my tee time at Royal Portrush, just a stone’s throw from The Bushmills Inn. We pulled into the quaint parking area next to the inn and were able to check into one of our two rooms — a real plus, as we arrived many hours before the official check-in time. Within a few minutes, I was unloading the car and unpacking my clubs for my short drive to the course. My family relaxed at the inn, able to check into the other room in a couple of hours.
Arrival/Check-In: The 2014 GT Tested Awards gala took place in sunny Los Angeles, and I had the pleasure of staying at the beautiful Montage Beverly Hills during the trip. I arrived at the Montage on Sunday afternoon, and several members of the hotel staff greeted me as I stepped out of a taxi. The lobby was decorated for the holidays, and I admired an elaborate gingerbread house during the brief wait to check in. A staff member showed me to my room, and I settled in to the elegant space.
Arrival/Check-In: The newly opened Mandarin Oriental is located in the heart of the city. My flight arrived midday and, with little road traffic, I reached the hotel from Taoyuan International Airport in just under 40 minutes. Surrounded by quiet, tree-lined streets, the hotel appears unassuming from the curb, but valets immediately greeted me as I arrived in the large circular drive. Walking into the lobby of white and black marble beneath a beautiful chandelier, I knew I was in for a treat. There was no wait at the reception desk located in a large room off to the left, and I received tea and a warm cloth while checking in. I was then directed to the guests-only bank of elevators and set off to the fourth floor.
Arrival/Check-In: My visit to the NH Collection Madrid Eurobuilding came just a few weeks after the hotel’s reopening, unveiling its new, modern feel. The lobby was buzzing with guests, dispersed throughout its various seating areas; the hum in the air may have been due to the next evening’s Real Madrid fútbol match, as the hotel is on the same block as Bernabeu Stadium and many were in town to witness the match-up. Despite arriving before designated check-in time, I found my room was ready.
Arrival/Check-In: Escaping the East Coast just prior to a monster snowstorm, I arrived at LAX on an early Sunday afternoon flight, grabbed a cab and headed to the Loews Hollywood Hotel. The hotel is located approximately 14 miles from LAX, and given L.A.’s erratic traffic patterns, travel time can range from 40 minutes to an hour and 40 minutes, depending upon day and time. My experience reflected the former. (Ask your cab driver if it will be less congested and faster to get to the Loews via the highway or local streets. Both run more or less parallel.)
Arrival/Check-In: The property was easy to find, with an ideal South Beach location on Ocean Drive and a large, bright sign. As we arrived, the valet greeted us and the doorman escorted my colleague and me into the lobby. He then followed us to the front desk with our luggage. The front desk attendant was attentive and friendly, and I was checked in in under 10 minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at The Wellesley, a boutique luxury hotel, midafternoon on my way to my last meeting for the day, so the speedy check-in was greatly appreciated. The staff members at reception were friendly and very efficient. They showed me my room, the Louis Armstrong Suite; I dropped off my bags and sped off to my meeting.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel on a gloomy, rainy day to find a bright and cheerful lobby and a warm welcome from the doorman and the folks at reception. After a speedy check-in, I was escorted to my room, the Harlequin suite, a junior suite with the black and white diamond-patterned motif reminiscent of a harlequin — thus its name.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at The Setai in the late afternoon on a hot, humid day in Miami. The doorman greeted me before I even entered the lobby and directed me to the front desk. He asked that I take a seat and assured me the front desk attendant would be with me in a moment. He then presented me with a cold towel and a refreshing iced green tea, which was ideal considering the hot weather. While I sat, cooled off and enjoyed my beverage, the friendly front desk attendant checked me in within 10 minutes and then walked me to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: After an early-morning transcontinental flight, I drove into San Francisco and easily found the Argonaut. Well-dressed bellmen and valet attendants immediately helped me with my luggage and rental car. It was still early in the day and my room was not yet ready, so I stored my luggage and set out to explore San Francisco. When I returned later that afternoon, I quickly checked in and stopped by the hotel’s complimentary happy hour for a local beer before heading to my guestroom to prepare for dinner.
Arrival/Check-In: Security is taken seriously in Mumbai: Entering The Oberoi, Mumbai requires passing through a guarded vehicle gate and a metal detector and having bags scanned. I was greeted, zipped up the elevator to the eighth-floor lobby and welcomed with a refreshing cloth and cool drink before being shown to my suite.
Arrival/Check-In: Located in Gaylord, Mich., about an hour and a half from Traverse City, Treetops Resort is a rustic retreat where the recreational focus changes with the seasons — golf when the weather is warm, skiing when the snow flies. The property is also beefing up its profile as a meetings destination capable of hosting groups of up to 1,000, so it was no surprise the front desk staff was ready, waiting and totally unflustered when my group of 12 arrived en masse for a three-day round of meetings and social gatherings.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at Sagamore Hotel at around 11 p.m. After a day of work, a flight to Miami, the rental car process and a drive from the airport, I was thrilled to experience a seamless and quick check-in process. Upon my arrival, staff greeted me outside the property and directed me to the front desk. As I entered the lobby, I immediately felt more relaxed in the quiet and calm atmosphere. The friendly receptionist checked me in within three minutes. A hotel employee carried my luggage and escorted me to my room. Before leaving, he provided a thorough tour of the room, which I appreciated.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at 41, a Red Carnation hotel, mid-morning to a warm greeting from the doorman, who showed me to the elevator which wafted me up to reception on the top floor of the building. The building in question is The Rubens Hotel at the Palace, 41’s adjoining sister property.
Arrival/Check-In: If you want to be treated like royalty, allow the Grand Hyatt Card Blanc team to transport you from gate to door. As I disembarked my China Airlines flight from Taipei, I saw an airport employee in a red jacket holding a sign for the Grand Hyatt. I was taken in a golf cart with my luggage to the immigration and customs line and through to my driver. In a few minutes, I was on my way downtown to the Grand Hyatt.
Arrival/Check-In: I pulled up to the security gate at 9 a.m., hoping the hotel would hold my bags for the day so I could attend meetings and return later to check in. I was approved to pass through, and at the entrance multiple members of the Burj Al Arab staff greeted me by name and showed me directly to my room. My two-level suite was on the 13th floor, where my butler, Christine, offered fresh orange juice and a tour of the room. To my delight, my bags were already sitting in the dressing area. The check-in process was completed right there in my room at the grand desk, which was equipped with a computer and printer.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Hong Kong late in the evening after a flight delay, and I was really looking forward to checking into my room. The InterContinental Hong Kong is a staple hotel in Kowloon, and my cab driver quickly took me to the front steps. The expansive lobby was quiet, and the reception desk staff helped me right away. A concierge escorted me to my room for check-in since I had booked a club room. While quickly taking my information, the concierge provided a room tutorial and ordered me a welcome and much-needed tea.
Arrival/Check-In: Miami in August can be an exhausting experience, with heat and the associated stormy weather keeping things “interesting.” At the end of my flight into Miami, we were treated to an aerial view of a large thunderstorm. I was happy to get to the Blue Moon after a full day of work and an evening of travel. The South Beach property is not hard to find, but with a lack of street signage it is best to know the cross streets and where exactly to stop. Two friendly employees greeted me as I arrived. Alexis checked me in, and his colleague, David, showed me to my room. I have rarely experienced more welcoming service.
Arrival/Check-In: The WestHouse was not a name that registered in my consciousness, and the entrance was somewhat nondescript; therefore, I really was not prepared for one of the best hotel stays I’ve ever had, but that’s exactly what I received. I arrived early, and my room was not yet ready; I stored my bags and stepped out for lunch. When I returned, I was quickly checked in and on the way to my room, my bags already waiting for me.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel on a beautiful spring day to a warm greeting from the Goring’s doorman and front desk staff. I was quickly checked in and off to my room, a Belgravia Suite on the second floor (European first) which, although it faced the street, was quiet.
Arrival/Check-In: After an early-morning flight and a full day of meetings, I was looking forward to settling in at The Redbury. To get to the main lobby, I entered the side entrance. Before stepping foot in the hotel, I was greeted by a hotel employee who graciously took my luggage. The friendly front desk attendant immediately welcomed me before I even reached the reservation desk. Within the five minutes it took to check in, I admired the old Hollywood glamour décor of the lobby, which was not particularly large or too extravagant but warm and welcoming.
Arrival/Check-In: I was too busy ogling the Paris Opéra to realize my taxi arrived at the InterContinental Paris Le Grand Hotel. A doorman opened the taxi door while a bellman whisked away my luggage. Check-in at the front desk was swift and efficient, despite my attention frequently wandering to the adjacent La Verrière, the hotel’s glass-roofed, greenery-filled atrium, a popular meeting place not only for guests but also for Paris’ social and business elite.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the Public after a harrowing taxi ride from Chicago Midway Airport, glad to be in one piece when one of the Public valets welcomed me. The lobby featured a classic chandelier, gorgeous antique mirrors and a front desk reminiscent of the famous “Bean” sculpture (officially Cloud Gate) in Millennium Park. The desk attendant checked me in quickly and informed me I was staying in the Harry Belafonte Suite. Many of the suites are named after famous guests who stayed at the hotel or dined in the Pump Room, a storied restaurant on the first floor.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the SLS on a beautiful, sunny Miami day. Several valets were waiting to assist me with my bags and escort me to the front desk, where I was checked in without any wait. Though I visited before, I couldn’t help but pause to take in the extraordinary design detail of the lobby. The black-and-white tiled floor and photographs in mismatched antique frames pay tribute to the building’s 1930s roots yet blend seamlessly with more modern touches. Throughout my stay I had the distinct sense of familiarity with pieces of the décor and the feelings they inspired, yet they were all presented and blended together in a totally unique way.
Arrival/Check-In: After an early-morning flight from Philadelphia to Chicago, I was eager to check in at The James Chicago and freshen up a bit. The light-filled lobby was welcoming, and my colleague and I were both checked into our rooms — ready early — within just a few minutes. The lobby is long, with couches, chairs and ottomans to the right of the main entrance, joined by a tucked-away business center. To the left of the entrance are additional seating and the restaurant and bar.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving by taxi from Changi Airport, I was immediately greeted by a friendly bellman who asked if I needed any help with my bag. Since I was traveling light with only one bag, I just took it myself to the reception desk. By the time I arrived, it was quite quiet, so in a matter of minutes, I was checked in and directed to my room. Very efficient!
Arrival/Check-In: My first arrival at the hotel was early in the morning, well before normal check-in time. I left my bags with the front desk and hustled through a day of meetings. My second arrival finally gave me the chance to learn my surroundings. On the outside, the property has a modern feel, with lots of large windows, and is surrounded by a busy Kowloon shopping district. However, once you’re inside, the charm of the renowned Langham is in full effect, with arched ceilings, cream marble floor and chandeliers leading you to the front desk in the back of the lobby. Just a few people were in front of me; and I was quickly checked in, introduced to the club amenities and promised my bags would be delivered to my room shortly.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel on one of the coldest days Chicago has ever experienced to find a warm welcome from the hotel’s doorman and my personal greeter in the Langham’s signature pink outfit, which lent a touch of spring to the bitterly cold winter day. I was quickly taken to The Langham Club Lounge, where I enjoyed a cup of tea while I went through the brief check-in process. The Club Lounge on the 13th floor, although the elevator lists it as 12C, is an attractive space done up in mid-century modern motif in keeping with the Mies van der Rohe-designed building. The sitting area segues into the breakfast area and provides great views of Chicago. When I was ready to go to my room, Carlos, the director of butler service, escorted me.
Arrival/Check-In: “Welcome to The Plaza.” It’s a greeting I savor no matter how many times I hear it. There’s something heartwarming about pulling up to the curb in front of the iconic New York City hotel and knowing you’re checking in for the evening. Although a $450 million renovation and restoration (2005–2008) resulted in a new lobby configuration that is, perhaps, a bit less dramatic than its original layout, the upside is the Champagne Bar, a welcoming bistro-like setting where guests and visitors alike congregate to sip Champagne and specialty drinks, warm up with a cappuccino, snack on light bites or indulge in dessert. Passing through on the way to the front desk, it’s difficult to resist the urge to linger awhile.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel early in the day after a meeting cancellation. I was hoping to check in or at least set up a workspace in the lobby if my room was not yet available. The hotel has a magnificent entrance which is a challenge to take in at first glance. The friendly staff welcomed me and directed me to a desk where, even at the early hour, I was quickly checked in and directed toward my room.
Arrival/Check-In: Upon my arrival, a stunning view of the outdoor restaurant patio and pool greeted me. The warm mixture of dark wood and marble made for a comfortable environment. Check-in was simple and fast, and just as quickly I left the front desk and was escorted to my guest suite via golf cart. The resort is expansive; and although it is easily walkable, sandstone pathways were created for the concierge golf cart service. Anytime I wanted to leave the room, I placed a phone call and a cart was at my door within three minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: After a quick, 20-minute ride from the airport, my cab climbed a small hill and pulled into the grand circular entrance of the Conrad Hong Kong. I noticed the Lobby Lounge was quite large, with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of Hong Kong and across the river to Kowloon. The dining area seemed to be the perfect spot for lunch, tea or a cocktail with clients, though at that moment I was most eager to get to my room. The reception desk, off to the right from the entrance, was quite busy. Though there was a bit of a wait, I appreciated the Conrad attendant recognized I had been waiting longer than another guest and called me ahead.
Arrival/Check-In: Our quick visit to Los Angeles in early December got off to an excellent start as we pulled into the courtyard of Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica on a balmy, sunny late afternoon. The hotel’s driftwood-gray siding and crisp white trim immediately set the tone for a relaxed stay at this property located directly on the beach just a few blocks south of the iconic Santa Monica Pier. The valets greeted us warmly, unloaded our luggage and passed us on to the head doorman as they whisked our rental car away. With no wait at the check-in desk, the staff answered our questions about pressing services for our formal wear for the next evening, inquired about our preference for newspaper delivery to our room the next morning and turned us over to our bellman, waiting to escort us to our room with our loaded luggage cart at hand.
Arrival/Check-In: After first missing the turn for the entrance and circling the block once, I pulled into the Shore Hotel, conveniently located on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, directly across the street from Santa Monica Pier and the ocean. The valet immediately assisted with my rental car and luggage. The airy, open lobby features floor-to-ceiling windows; incredible views; and white floors, walls and furniture. The sleek look and feel continues throughout the property. On one side of the lobby is the entrance, on the other the outdoor pool. Unlimited complimentary coffee and citrus water are available throughout the day.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Philadelphia late on a rainy evening, and the brightly lit lobby of the Hotel Monaco was a welcoming sight. This hotel nestles in the iconic Lafayette Building, built in 1907, and the Kimpton property has added unique modern pieces while keeping the original architecture intact. The reception area is off to the side of the bank of elevators and filled with comfortable, gem-colored couches and chairs in front of a fire. Because of the late hour, the lobby was empty and the staff helped me quickly. However, when I got to my room on the eighth floor, my key card did not work, requiring a trip back down to the lobby.
Arrival/Check-In: Having not slept on my overnight flight from New York to Berlin, I arrived at the Maritim proArte Hotel Berlin before 9 a.m., exhausted. I knew check-in time was 3 p.m.; still, I groaned when the desk clerk said there were no vacant rooms at the moment. That was before he added, “We do have one available, but it’s a smoking room.” I hate smoke; I never take a smoking room. “I’ll take it,” I said, and despite the room’s nicotine haze, five minutes after entering it I was asleep. Early afternoon, long before 3 p.m., the hotel transferred me to my non-smoking room, and I was ready to explore Berlin.
Arrival/Check-In: My arrival at Beaver Creek Resort was pretty spectacular — from Vail/Eagle Airport, I transferred via private helicopter to the resort. From the helipad at the bottom of the mountain, I was driven to the somewhat nondescript entrance of The Osprey in a luxe black SUV. The lobby is small, with the concierge desk to the right of the entrance, in front of an elevator, and the reception desk to the left. Steps immediately ahead take guests to the restaurant area and a sitting area with comfortable furniture and a fireplace. The boutique hotel features just three floors. I checked in quickly and was on my way to my second-floor superior room in just a few minutes. I was thankful for the speedy check-in, as I’d been awake since 3 a.m. EST to catch my early-morning flight to Colorado.
Arrival/Check-In: Getting to the 5-star Westbury, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World, requires noodling the one-way roads in Dublin’s city center, but the reward is a primo location that puts most of the city’s attractions within footsteps. This Doyle Collection property tucks behind the flower vendors on Grafton Street, Dublin’s shopping hub, between St. Stephen’s Green and Trinity College.
Arrival/Check-In: Who doesn’t love pulling up to a Fifth Avenue address? After driving in from Boston — an easy ride with the exception of the last 10 miles on FDR Drive and across town to Fifth Avenue — my sister, Nancy, and I were delighted with the prompt and courteous welcome awaiting us at Langham Place, Fifth Avenue. Bags unloaded. Check. Car whisked to a valet parking garage. Check. Friendly greeting and an escort to our gorgeous residential suite. Check.
Arrival/Check-In: The Oberoi Dubai, which opened in June 2013, is the storied Indian hotelier’s first and only property in the United Arab Emirates. The hotel is determined to make a dazzling first impression. To that end, Oberoi transferred 100 of its best, most remarkable Indian employees to Dubai in preparation for its grand opening. I arrived after 1 a.m. after a long connecting flight from New York and was greeted by a smiling team in the lobby (they were expecting me), along with my personal “floor butler” who escorted me to my room. She cheerfully advised that she was available 24/7 for whatever I might need — a unique perk available to all guests. A plate of scrumptious homemade chocolates in the room offered the perfect (very) late-night snack.
Arrival/Check-In: My colleague Mark and I arrived at the Hilton Long Island after a day of meetings in New York, ready to relax as we were on the first leg of a multiday road trip. Check-in was quick, and we enjoyed a drink at the lobby bar before visiting our guestrooms. The lobby of this newly renovated property is a massive space capped by a domed skylight that houses a bar as well as Basil’s Bistro. We sampled a few items from the bar menu to hold us over until dinner — a flatbread and some tasty bruschetta.
Arrival/Check-In: The four-story Oyster Box Hotel, a Red Carnation hotel opened in 1947 and reopened in 2009 after a masterful rebuild, is a pleasant diversion from the modern high-rises lining the beachfront promenade in Umhlanga Rocks, just outside downtown Durban. I was warmly greeted, pleasantly surprised with an upgrade, treated to a choice of cool drinks and then escorted to my sea-facing Buthelezi suite, with an overview of the property en route. A bellman arrived shortly afterward with my bag.
Arrival/Check-In: When I arrived in sunny Cancún, I had no trouble finding my pre-arranged shuttle to the JW Marriott. A friendly driver helped me with my bags, and in 20 minutes we were pulling up to the sprawling resort in the heart of Cancún’s Hotel Zone. Checking in at the hotel was just as easy, as welcoming staff registered me and took my bags to my room in a matter of minutes. The lobby was extravagant yet welcoming, with large marble pillars, massive tropical flower arrangements and towering windows that offer guests their first glimpse of the resort’s infinity pool spilling out into the ocean.
Arrival/Check-In: We were anticipating a bit of traffic driving from Sonoma into San Francisco, but it was smooth sailing right over the Golden Gate Bridge until we hit midday gridlock winding our way through the city’s many one-way streets. With a bit of help from our GPS, we managed to find the understated hotel entrance. A bellman was at the ready, efficiently unloading our bags before sending our car off with a valet.
Arrival/Check-In: There is so much to take in upon arrival at the historic Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel — from the black-and-white checkered floor and dark wood walls to the popular gold couch and art installation behind reception. One glance around and you suddenly understand you are standing in an area rich with history. Opened on April 16, 1910, it quickly became a favorite of movie stars and U.S. presidents, having hosted 12. Closed in 1991 after being briefly owned by Maharishi Yogi, it reopened in its current incarnation after a $128 million renovation. Its former barber shop is where Al Capone hid his hooch.
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived by car after being picked up at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) just an hour or less away. It was quite late, close to midnight, and I had a full day ahead of me the next morning. Check-in was swift; and as I gazed around, I wished I had less time scheduled for work and more time to relax at this beautiful resort oasis in Dubai. Before going to my room, I arranged a driver for the next day, which was simple to do. I have used this same driver many times in Dubai.
Arrival/Check-In: It is not hard to spot the Trump International Hotel & Tower — the second-tallest building in Chicago dominates the skyline. The 92-story residential tower includes a luxury hotel on floors 14–27. With snowflakes gently falling, we arrived on Saturday afternoon. After a swift check-in, we were escorted to our 23rd-floor deluxe guestroom, where opera music played on the Bose Sound Wave System.
Arrival/Check-In: My colleague, Carly, was kind enough to provide transportation from an evening event in Beverly Hills to the Hotel Shangri-La. We admired the Art Deco exterior of this classic but newly updated hotel as we pulled down Ocean Avenue. Re-opened in 2008 after major renovations that are evident in all areas of the interior, the Shangri-La provides a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. I checked in quickly at the late hour, and desk staff recommended a local restaurant and bar for my first taste of Santa Monica.
Arrival/Check-In: Schloss Reinhartshausen is a 5-star hotel in Germany’s Rheingau wine region, managed by Kempinski and set on land with a long history. After centuries of housing the fort of local knights, a palace was built in its place in 1801. Princess Marianne of Prussia bought it in 1855 and, until her death, treated it with flair and a high level of luxury. That sense of luxury was apparent from the moment I entered. The space was grand. The reception was warm, and check-in was swift and efficient.
Arrival/Check-In: A thick fog stubbornly clung to the Chicago skyline, obscuring our view of the 82-story building that houses the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel. The lucky occupants who live in the condos and apartments on the upper floors know what it is like to be a mythological god reigning from the clouds. Arriving at 10 a.m., after an 18-hour Amtrak journey, it almost seemed miraculous when we were told our room was ready.
Arrival/Check-In: We booked a private airport transfer through the resort, so our Ladera experience began the moment we cleared immigration. While other arriving passengers navigated a veritable wall of taxi drivers and transfer operators, our driver took our bags, led us to an air-conditioned Town Car and handed us cool towels and cold water. Forty-five minutes later, we arrived at the resort to a chorus of “Welcome home.” We sipped a cool fruit drink while the driver moved our bags to a waiting golf cart. The seamless transfer continued as our private butler, Keicher, drove us to PR1, an expansive hilltop suite offering unparalleled views of St. Lucia’s towering Pitons and the Caribbean Sea.
Arrival/Check-In: The Four Seasons greets guests at the Bora Bora Airport and transfers them in style on its handcrafted taxi boats, which are inspired by the commuter boats of 1920s New York City that transported Wall Street executives from their homes on Long Island to the tip of Manhattan. We transferred from another property, so we showed up on our own, but the Four Seasons team met us at the dock with chilled oshibori towels and cold bottled water. Philippe took us immediately in a golf cart to our overwater bungalow. I handed over the wahoo fish I had caught that morning, and Philippe promised to keep it chilled and present it to the chef for our dinner. At our bungalow, he checked us in and secured reservations for a couple’s massage and dinner that evening.
Arrival/Check-In: The Steigenberger opened in 1969, the first hotel at the Frankfurt International Airport. Today, it is large, bustling and vibrant. I arrived about 7 p.m., and, it was quickly apparent, so had several dozen other guests. Yet clearly the hotel expected us. Despite the crowd and the lines, reception had so many desks open and worked so quickly that I waited only about five minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel after a not-too-long early-morning taxi ride from Paddington Station. The hotel is on the site of the Gaiety Theatre, where shows were at one time as famous as the Ziegfeld Follies in New York, and next to Marconi House, the former headquarters of the BBC and the site of the first BBC radio broadcast in 1922. This is where the hotel’s Radio Bar gets its name. The entrance is at the very point where the Strand meets the Aldwych. It is a pleasant surprise as you enter the somewhat austere building to find a Eurosleek edgy interior of black marble and gleaming stainless steel. The reception desk is one level up in what has to be one of the most interesting one-of-a-kind spaces anywhere. It is shaped like the inside of a hollow obelisk that soars nine stories to the top of the building, where a skylight gives you a view of blue sky or clouds. It’s this reception area that sets the tone of your stay, meaning you can expect the unexpected.
Arrival/Check-In: We pulled into the vast main entrance of The Phoenician a little after 8 p.m. The street lamps offered a glimpse of the exquisite landscaping and expansive grounds of the property. At first it felt like a large, gated community with multiple buildings and driveways, a bit overwhelming for a weary traveler. But before I had to choose a route, I was asked to stop at a small gatehouse where staff directed me to the main lobby and called ahead to let them know I had arrived. A valet took my car, and I was in my room within minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the newly opened James Royal Palm late in the evening following a cross-country flight from Los Angeles. At that late hour, other guests were enjoying cocktails at the James Club, the lobby lounge, as I admired the interior design created by Lauren Rottet of Rottet Studio. The décor maintained historical touches including the original green glass reception desk, now used as a coffee bar, and porthole windows. Before I could take it all in, I was quickly assisted and directed to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: A Grand Hyatt Hong Kong representative met me at my gate at Hong Kong International Airport, walked me to luggage claim, waited for my bags and showed me to my driver, who whisked me away in the Mercedes-Benz sedan for the 35-minute drive into the city. As I was booked on the Grand Club executive floor, hotel staff met me inside the lobby and showed me to the Grand Club lounge; I then took a second elevator to my top-floor suite, where I was checked in privately and swiftly. I was surprised and happy to meet my personal butler, Bobby, who gave me a brief description of my Club access and a tour of my Ambassador Harbor View suite.
Arrival/Check-In: It was like coming home. Although I had never stayed at The Address Downtown Dubai, I felt I should know the property, as the hotel has won accolades in Global Traveler’s annual reader survey. I was traveling with a colleague, and we had a busy schedule of meetings and golf, so Rollaboards and golf bags were the order of the day. The staff did not miss a trick and took our bags directly to our rooms. At check-in, I fancied The Address-branded pens and was offered a few as a gift — nice touch!
Arrival/Check-In: Having been to the InterContinental Century City once before, I was prepared for the grand entrance as my car pulled in; and I was quickly helped with my things by numerous bellmen who directed me to the desk. With no wait, I received my key and directions to the elevators. At the late-afternoon hour, the lobby was abuzz with businesspeople enjoying cocktails at the bar and congregating before their evening plans.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Singapore in the early afternoon and took a quick taxi ride from Changi Airport to the Pan Pacific. Pan Pacific has several hotels in Singapore, so I was sure to tell the driver Marina Square. We pulled right in, and the bellman showed me to the front desk. While he whisked away my luggage, I took in the newly remodeled lobby, a huge atrium with a soaring ceiling and tables and couches in the center of a large bar, encouraging you to relax and meet guests at your leisure. As I was staying on the club level, I was escorted to the 36th-floor club desk for personal check-in. The club level has 360-degree views and chic furniture. I received a chilled bottle of water and was checked in at a calming but slow pace. Staff showed me how to use my key pass and walked me to my 30th-floor room.
Arrival/Check-In: I was traveling with anticipation to the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton in Montréal, located in what is called the Golden Square Mile in one of my favorite cities. The hotel had only recently opened after a total renovation to the core of the building. It’s rumored they spent $200 million on the redo, and it shows. I was greeted by the signage that has hung over the property since 1912 — a welcome sight. There is plenty of history here, plus updates for today’s travelers. The doorman took our luggage (we had a lot, as I was traveling with my family), and we were welcomed at the front desk. Once checked in, we went up to our beautiful suite with an adjoining room — c’est magnifique!
Arrival/Check-In: I was traveling with Wayne Tallman of the Global Traveler Advisory Board for a week’s worth of meetings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We planned to play two rounds of golf during our free time and report back to the readers of GT, so we had a great deal of luggage. We flew first class on Etihad Airways, and the carrier’s complimentary limousine service took us to the hotel. We were warmly greeted by Ali, who took care of golf bags and luggage and whisked us to the 18th floor for check-in.
Arrival/Check-In: InterContinental Miami is located on the shore of Biscayne Bay in downtown Miami. As a business hotel that attracts its fair share of leisure travelers, it’s a busy place. I was in town for a few days, so I was in and out in my rental car on a fairly regular basis. (Self-parking is not an option.) While the entrance was always bustling with activity, there was never a delay dropping my car, and I never waited more than a minute or two for the valet to retrieve my car when I was on my way out. The expansive lobby with its vaulted ceiling is acoustically daunting at first. There’s a sitting area, a bar and Toro Toro restaurant front and center. The check-in and concierge desks are off to the left. With plenty of attendants manning the front desk, I was on my way to my 29th-floor executive-level room (with complimentary access to Club InterContinental Lounge) within minutes of arrival.
Arrival/Check-In: It does not get much better than the greeting by The St. Regis Bora Bora staff at the Bora Bora Airport. As soon as we were in the terminal, Glenn from the resort met us, offered a cold towel and instructed us to board the St. Regis boat. No worries about luggage — the resort team took care of it. From the deck of the beautiful 55-foot boat, we watched other travelers boarding their water shuttles, and one woman yelled, “Nice boat!” We were the only guests on board. During the 20-minute ride, Glenn checked us into the hotel. At the dock, Carmen, our butler, and Richie (butler-in-training and three days on the job) greeted us with cold tea and towels.
Arrival/Check-In: I was navigating the Metro from the airport and was slightly concerned about finding my way to the hotel from the Gregorio Marañón station, especially given the early-morning hour and my groggy state from my overnight flight. To my pleasant surprise, I walked up the station steps and the hotel stood before me. Given the pre-dawn time, the lobby was quiet and empty. Reception directed me to the fifth-floor Royal Club for a private check-in.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived late in the evening at the National Hotel in Miami. I was warned the property was going through the final phases of a major refresh, but no evidence of this was obvious at first glance. The large lobby featured rich hardwood floors, plush seating and vintage-style fixtures, which complement the hotel’s almost 75 years of history. There was no line for checkin, so I had my key and was on my way to my room within minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: I love a hotel entrance with a circular drive. It makes a routine arrival seem more like an event, and my arrival at Montage Beverly Hills was no exception. As my cab pulled to a stop at the entrance, the valet opened the door while a bellman retrieved my bag. I was inside the bright and stylish lobby within minutes and on the way to my room shortly thereafter.
Arrival/Check-In: The hotel is conveniently located just a short walk from both Union Station and the Capitol. It’s best to take a taxi to the White House, as it’s about a mile-and-a-half walk. But we were in the mood for a leisurely stroll, so we walked the whole way. By the time we were done visiting the local museums, the White House and the Capitol, we were anxious to check into the hotel quickly and rest a bit before dinner. I was happy check-in was quick, and — after stopping for a self-serve welcome drink in the lobby — we were in our room within minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: It’s a beautiful property in the financial center, and the Presidente InterContinental Santa Fe does not disappoint. The Santa Fe area is an up-and-coming neighborhood in the western region of vast Mexico City; that is, it’s a nice area but a long drive from the airport. When you reach the hotel, a handsome circular stone entrance driveway and a team of valets welcome you. The hotel entrance is a short but cavernous walk to a covered outdoor elevator bank that rises through ceilings seemingly 30 feet high, then disappears into the hotel lobby on the fourth floor. Checking in was a breeze, even taking time to speak with the staff. My bags were brought to the room ahead of me as I took a few minutes to enjoy the ambience, the view and the company of the exuberant concierge. Up to the room I went.
Arrival/Check-In: Due to work being done on the building, scaffolding covered the façade of Hotel Chandler. I walked the block twice keeping an eye out for 12 E. 31st St. before I noticed the sign and unassuming entrance. I pulled my bag up four or five steps wondering what lay beyond the doorway. What a great surprise to discover the small but inviting lobby. It was early evening on a Sunday in January. The warm décor and friendly front desk staff made me feel immediately at home.
Arrival/Check-In: For some reason, I had it in my head The Iroquois New York was located on 49th Street; as such, that was where I directed my cab driver, and when I realized my mistake, I ended up pulling my suitcase and other bags the four remaining blocks to the hotel. I was happy to find an empty lobby and to receive immediate assistance checking in. In the elevators on my way to my suite, I noted it was probably one of the fastest check-in experiences I’ve ever had.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel by taxi straight from the airport on a sunny afternoon. The driver did not know of this small boutique hotel, but with my handy smartphone we found it easily enough. The hotel’s simple white exterior blends into the New York buildings, giving it a great hideaway feel. Unfortunately, there was no doorman at the time to help me with my bags, and I navigated the front stairs awkwardly on my own. Once inside, I was quickly ushered to the front desk and checked in. While waiting, I looked around the lobby and was impressed that although there were no windows, the room and its colorful lighting felt comfortable and open. The seating area adjacent to a roaring fireplace completed the look. After a quick check-in, I was shown to the elevators in the middle of the lobby.
Arrival/Check-In: At the LHotel Montreal, you arrive with love. Literally. Located at the entrance of the hotel is a six-foot LOVE sculpture by the artist Robert Indiana. As the valet opened the car door and the bell staff ushered my luggage up the stairs into the new hotel in Old Montréal, I was immediately struck by the classic European architecture. The artistic experience continued inside; while checking in, which took only a matter of minutes, I ogled a half-dozen paintings by contemporary artists of world renown. Good first impressions, indeed.
Arrival/Check-In: Pulling up to The Orlando in West Los Angeles was a surprise, as I had no idea the pedestrian-looking portico we parked under was indeed my destination. Though unassuming, it appeared intimate, and a valet attendant greeted me straight away. Carrying only one roll-aboard bag, I approached the check-in desk just steps from the entrance, where hotel staff offered welcoming smiles. While not immediately shown to my room, I was told they reserved a lovely patio room for me. It was being prepared for my arrival; and since I was checking in a few hours early, they would need 30 minutes. I passed the time at The Churchill, an attached gastropub with a noteworthy craft beer selection.
Arrival/Check-In: Our flight arrived at the Montego Bay Airport, where we were greeted by The Caves’ driver and offered a beverage before the hour-and-a-half coastline drive to the cliffs of Negril. The private gate was small enough to miss; once inside, we felt an instant tranquility. We were offered a welcome drink and cool towels as we were checked in within minutes of arrival.
Arrival/Check-In: The Sheraton Macao Hotel is massive, the largest in Macau. Part of a three-hotel complex on the Cotai Strip, the hotel connects to The Conrad and Holiday Inn. With nearly 4,000 guestrooms, a plethora of shops and a casino, the hotel was constantly abuzz. I was checked in on the hotel’s club level, located on the same floor as the meeting and event spaces. The attentive staff greeted me with warm towels and a welcome drink. After a few minutes of rest, I was escorted to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: Before the airport shuttle van had even come to a complete stop, a valet and a bellhop stepped forward to greet me, relieving me of my luggage and accompanying me to the front desk. Check-in was swift and pleasant, with the clerk reminding me of this Kimpton property’s evening hosted Wine Hour in the lobby and complimentary coffee and tea service there every morning. The friendly bellhop escorted me to my room, relating features of the hotel and my room along the way.
Arrival/Check-In: The island of Moorea is just a 35-minute boat ride from Papeete, where our flight arrived at 6 a.m. We got to the resort via boat and local taxi by 7:30 a.m. Due to the early hour, our room would not be ready for another three or so hours, but the staff seated us in the lobby and presented punch, floral leis and wet cloths while they explained the resort and all its amenities. The open-air lobby provided great views of the tropical greenery around the resort. We decided to have breakfast while we waited; shortly afterward, the staff found us and led us to our overwater bungalow. It took another 20 minutes or so for our luggage to arrive in the room.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at McCarran International Airport (LAS) late Sunday night. The hotel runs an airport shuttle, and I decided to take it because the notorious taxi lines at the airport were not worth the wait. After a 10-minute drive to the hotel, a doorman ushered me to the VIP check-in area to the right of the beautiful marble lobby. The closed-off VIP room canceled any casino noise and boasted refreshments and chic couches. Staff checked me in right away and gave a brief idea of the hotel’s dining and entertainment hot spots. The bank of elevators was right off the lobby, making it easy to get to guestrooms without dragging luggage through the casino. Although the lobby was busy, it did not hinder the speed of finding an elevator to the 28th floor.
Arrival/Check-In: White Elephant Hotel isn’t a drive-to destination, so the check-in process begins upon arrival at the airport or ferry terminal, where a designated shuttle awaits incoming guests. My husband, Kevin, and I arrived via scheduled ferry for the final weekend of the season — Nantucket Stroll, an island-wide holiday celebration. It was the first weekend in December, and the ferry crossing from Hyannis to Nantucket was a pleasant, albeit chilly, trip. We’ve visited Nantucket in spring, summer and fall, but this was our first winter weekend, and I felt a bit of a thrill as the ferry rounded the bend into the harbor, passing by the wreath-laden Brant Point Lighthouse. The shuttle driver was ready and waiting at baggage claim. We hopped into the warm vehicle for the quick ride to the hotel. Check-in was quick. We were in our room within minutes of arrival.
Arrival/Check-In: After driving for a couple of hours, taking the scenic route along country roads — once even stopping to wait for the crossing of cows — we arrived at the beautiful Lough Erne Resort. We drove to the front, passing one of the golf course’s par-3 holes, and were directed to park a few yards from the front door, where Patty, who was helpful for our entire stay, took our belongings. We entered a building that looked as if it was built 300 years ago but had actually been constructed in 2001. We were booked into the Nick Faldo suite, named after the professional British golfer and designer of the Lough Erne course.
Arrival/Check-In: We pulled up to the Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard on a perfect late-summer New England day. Noticing it was extremely busy, I assumed it would be a long, tedious check-in. My fears were soon allayed as two doormen warmly greeted me and directed me to the reception desk. The employee who handled check-in was equally pleasant and had the task completed in a matter of minutes.
Arrival/Check-In: The Jumeirah service desk was easy to find as I exited the airport Customs area. Even at 5 a.m. there were three people eager to assist me. My pre-arranged ride was just outside, and I was at the hotel within five minutes. The lobby featured contrasting décor in black, red and chrome, with regionally commissioned artwork throughout. At that time of morning, though, what delighted me most was the welcoming staff and the accommodations made for my early arrival. I was guided to my room within moments.
Arrival/Check-In: Upon arriving at the Hotel Bel-Air, I was directed over a bridge to reception. It was like walking through a tropical paradise with gardens all around. The bridge provided a view of a pond and three beautiful swans (Hercules, Athena and Chloe).
Arrival/Check-In: We arrived from Heathrow and were greeted at the front of the property by the doorman, who opened the car door and made sure we were protected from the elements, as it had begun to rain. Our luggage was taken from the “boot” and delivered to our room within minutes.
Arrival/Check-in: After a busy day of meetings in Dubai, I planned to remain there and catch my flight on Etihad Airways in the morning. Abu Dhabi Airport is so close to Dubai, a car can get you there in about an hour. At the last minute, some colleagues convinced me to try the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi so I would be only minutes away for my morning flight to JFK. I mention this so everyone understands how close Abu Dhabi is to Dubai and that this is an option when traveling to the U.A.E., even if most of your meetings are in Dubai.
Arrival/Check-In: The Chelsea and Meatpacking districts are my favorite New York City neighborhoods, so I was eager for my stay at the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC. In town for a quick overnight visit, I spent far less time at the hotel than preferred. From Penn Station, I took a cab downtown to the hotel, where a nondescript doorman assisted with my luggage as I entered the buzz-filled lobby. Check-in lasted less time than my wait for the elevator to my floor. The Gansevoort Meatpacking screams über-chic and hip from the moment you enter until the minute you depart.
Arrival/Check-In: My colleague and I arrived at the Mira on a busy Wednesday afternoon. Several eager doormen saw us trying to cross the one-way street and rushed to help with the luggage and get us safely inside. There were just a few people in front of us checking in, and it gave me a chance to observe the busy and unique lobby scene. The large room is black and white marble, giving a modern feel to the windowless space. After a few minutes, I was checked in and shown to the bank of elevators. Each floor is color-coordinated to the room color scheme and elevator foyer, making it easy to identify your correct floor when you see it.
Arrival/Check-In: L’Ermitage is a little hideaway just off Burton Way in Beverly Hills, and one can easily pass it. Previously owned by the Raffles Group, it has been managed by the Viceroy Hotel Group (Kor) since 2010. It was to be reflagged the Viceroy Beverly Hills, but that has yet to happen. When I arrived, it was very hot, topping nearly 100 degrees in downtown L.A. The front door and bell staff were out in force and apologized for the delay — of which I said there was none. In seconds, my car was taken and I was off to the front desk. They do need to figure out a way to ramp the access, as there are steps outside and in, and it makes pulling your roller bag a hassle. Without any delay, Brandon checked me in and offered a tour of my room, which I accepted.
Arrival/Check-In: Arriving at the Conrad after 2 a.m., I was roughly 24 hours late for my check-in. The lobby was well-staffed, even at that hour, to warmly welcome me to Singapore. As a guest on the executive floor, I was delighted to hear the Conrad offers complimentary clothes pressing for a few items on the day of check-in, a welcome offer given my delays.
Arrival/Check-In: How many people can say they stayed in the building where Queen Elizabeth II learned how to skate at the age of 7? Well, I can. I stayed several nights at Grosvenor House on Park Lane, which had an ice rink in its basement for the first five years of its existence. The rink closed in 1934 and was demolished to make way for The Great Room, the largest ballroom in Europe, which is the venue for many prestigious gala events in London.
Arrival/Check-In: After a very short drive from Belfast Harbour Airport, the airport closest to the city, we arrived at the Hilton Belfast, located in a little cul-de-sac. As we pulled up to the property, I decided to self-park the car; after traveling up a few levels, we found a spot close to the elevator. We took the elevator down to reception and were greeted and checked in.
Arrival/Check-In: Nautically designed to look like an ocean liner jutting into Waitemata Harbour at the tip of Princes Wharf, the Auckland Hilton can be a windy walk to the end of the pier, but taxis pull right up to the door. Once inside, you immediately confront the check-in desk separated by a waterfall wall from the concierge, with windows all around maintaining the impression you’re out at sea. Helpful attendants check you in and send you around the corner to convenient elevators. I happened to mention hopes of visiting the museum the next morning, a Sunday, and no sooner reached my room than the desk clerk called to tell me the institution’s weekend opening hours.
Arrival/Check-In: Having just disembarked from the Hebridean Princess in nearby Oban, we arrived at 9:30 a.m. fully expecting to park our luggage and amuse ourselves on the island until check-in time. Instead, we were invited to a cushy sofa in the elegant parlor, where we were served coffee and tea while the general manager completed check-in details. She chatted about the island and the hotel as we finished our drinks, then pointed out some of the resort’s facilities as she walked with us to our suite, where our luggage was already on racks.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in New York in the late afternoon. There was a lot of traffic getting into Manhattan as expected, but I got to the Yotel as the sun was setting, giving the mostly tinted glass structure vibrancy. The doorman ushered me through the large main lobby, which has a minimalist feel, to the self-check-in computers off to the left. I had a bit of trouble finding my confirmation, but a friendly attendant helped me. In order to get to your room, you need to take an elevator to the fourth floor, which holds “Mission Control,” also known as the concierge desk and dining entrances. I followed the crowd to the elevator bank which takes guests to their appropriate floor.
Arrival/Check-in: My hotel experience began at the Hong Kong airport. I had arranged for a car from the hotel to pick me up and two young men were waiting for me when I arrived. One took my luggage while the other ran ahead to get the car, and in minutes I was in a Mercedes-Benz cruising into the city. At the hotel, my check-in was completed in the comfort of my guestroom. (20/20)
Arrival/Check In: Turning off the narrow dusty streets of Hoi An and entering the tropical garden setting of the Life Heritage Resort, I felt like Dorothy encountering the suddenly Technicolor scene in The Wizard of Oz. Through masses of glossy green plants, shaggy-headed palms and pink and purple bougainvillea we headed to the breezy reception pavilion where a chilled towel and a welcome drink awaited. Fishing boats putt-putted along the Thu Bon River, just yards away, as the check-in formalities were quickly dispatched and we were on our way through the gardens to our room. (19/20)
Arrival/Check-in: The dry stone walls and tropical landscaping that make up La Residencia’s approach camouflage the vastness and enticements held within the modest Mallorcan-style manor house — modest by manor house standards, that is. Despite being more than an hour late due to a ferry delay, I was whisked into the foyer — my bags taken from me — and handed a glass of welcome champagne. Minutes later, I was enjoying a late lunch (Kobe beef burger) at the hotel’s pool restaurant. (20/20)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived at the hotel a little after midnight on a Thursday evening. Despite the late hour, the staff was alert and friendly and check-in was fairly speedy. There were few staff members around and no one assisted me with taking my bags up to my room. (18/20)
Arrival/Check-in: I took the airport limousine bus to the central station and took a taxi from there. I’ve learned this is the most comfortable and economical way from the airport to downtown Tokyo, as it’s a one-hourplus trip and traveling by taxi could cost more than $150. The cab driver didn’t speak English, but I had the name and address of the hotel written in Japanese and he found it without a hitch. (I made sure to carry the name with me wherever I went since the hotel is quite new and cab drivers might not recognize the name but they will sure know the address.) At the entrance, a female porter took my luggage while I was escorted to the lobby 38 stories above street level. (19/20)
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport very late, about 11:30 p.m., and with no luggage to collect, began looking for signs for the Hilton. I knew the hotel was within walking distance and just needed to get my bearings to find my way. The property is located only about 60 yards from the international arrivals hall via a covered walkway. Once I made it to the hotel, I checked in and headed to my room in seconds.
Arrival/Check-In: After shaking off my winter blues and landing in sunny Puerto Rico, I took a 15-minute cab ride to the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, which sits directly on Condado Beach. The recently redesigned lobby was buzzing with tourists enjoying complimentary tropical drinks as they waited to check in. I was quickly greeted by friendly hotel staff and directed to my oceanfront guestroom.
Arrival/Check-In: A friendly doorman in a bright red uniform welcomed me to the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco, whisking me into the bright and airy reception area. The Mandarin has undergone a major renovation during the past year, switching out its black granite, red and gold décor for one of butterscotch, reflective metals and sea blues. I arrived more than an hour prior to official check-in, but my room was immediately available. The receptionist mastered pronunciation of my surname, inquired about which of four newspapers I preferred delivered each morning and offered me fresh, hot tea. A valet then escorted me past the bustling Brasserie S&P to the elevators. As we made our way to the 44th floor, the valet boasted of the Mandarin’s 25 years of luxury service.
Arrival/Check-In: The Roger New York is conveniently located at 31st and Madison, about a 10-minute walk from Penn Station. When booking, I was told renovations had just been finished in May — about a month before my stay. I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived and a friendly doorman immediately greeted me and took me to the front desk. Only one other person was checking in at the time, so it went fairly smoothly, taking about five minutes. Because I checked in around 9:30 a.m., my room wasn’t ready, so they kindly stored my bags for the day.
Arrival/Check-in: After fighting Washington’s Saturday traffic, we turned onto M Street and immediately found ourselves out of the bustling city and in a park-like setting as we pulled up in front of the Park Hyatt. The bellman cheerfully unloaded the considerable amount of luggage my family of four had toted. Check-in was swift and courteous in a sleekly designed lobby with a markedly Park Hyatt Asian look. We were escorted to our room, and our bags were delivered in a few minutes. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Located in an office tower in the heart of the downtown district, the Conrad Miami is perfectly situated for business and for touring. I easily found my way to the hotel and made use of the quick and convenient drive-though valet parking. I took the elevator to the 25th floor for a smooth check-in. The clerk showed me around Level 25, the hotel’s 25th-floor lobby, restaurant and bar, then directed me to the elevators to descend to my 17th-floor room. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-In: As soon as I walked through the Lanesborough’s stately entrance at Hyde Park Corner, I knew I was in for an exceptional hotel experience. I arrived a bit early and my room was not quite ready, so reception took my information and I was ushered into the Withdrawing Room and offered tea and a snack. My Buckingham Suite was soon ready, and check-in was efficient and speedy. I was enjoying myself so much in the Withdrawing Room with its classic Regency great house décor, I did not mind the delay for a second.
Arrival/Check-In: Less than a year old, the 12-story Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel’s beige exterior and simple lines belie its modern interior. After being greeted by a valet (complimentary self-parking was abundant), we entered the glistening lobby and spied the check-in desks — three massive wooden dressers encased in clear plastic. Above each hung sculpted tree branches illuminated with blue lights. Contemporary seating surrounded the fireplace, and the hip bayou décor, anything but predictable, incorporated references to Louisiana, with paintings depicting oysters on the half shell, pelicans and jazz musicians. The staff promptly issued us room keys and another one to access the Concierge Lounge.
Arrival/Check-In: The InterContinental Berlin’s chessboard façade lit up in the distance as I approached. The hotel was fully booked the evening of my arrival; a convention was taking place. Naturally, the lobby was bustling. The front desk attendant proceeded swiftly through check-in, pointing me in the general direction of the elevators, and I found my way to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: The hotel is part of a brand-new complex called The Square that incorporates an elegant interior courtyard concept within the airport complex — complete with select restaurants — and a second Hilton option, the Hilton Garden Inn. As soon as I entered The Square and approached the desk, a member of the staff stepped forward to greet me. Check-in was exceptionally smooth, and I was escorted to my room on one of the two executive-level floors. The glass elevators require a room key to function, which added to my sense of comfort and safety. After my bags had been deposited, I was shown the entrance to the executive lounge and how to access the space using my room key.
Arrival/Check-In: Every Kimpton hotel I have experienced has its own distinct personality, and 70 Park Avenue Hotel is no exception. From its canopied entrance to its subtle lobby décor, this hotel is suited to its location. A valet was at the door as soon as my cab pulled up to the curb. He greeted me and proceeded to unload my bag from the trunk of the cab while I settled the tab. A bellman was standing at the ready as I checked in, so I as on my way to my room in a seamless transition.
Arrival/Check-In: I drove into New York City from Boston, arriving at the hotel via the West Side Highway, my favorite approach for its scenic course along the Hudson River. I knew the hotel, located at 11th Avenue and W. 48th Street, was within walking distance of Times Square, so I was surprised when I turned onto 11th Avenue and found a comparatively barren space on a street lined with car dealerships. Pushing aside my initial misgivings, I pulled up and left my car with the valet. The décor of the small, open-plan lobby was predominantly dark brown and red — cozy on a winter day, but in mid-June a bit dark. My spirits lifted immediately when the front desk clerk told me about the rooftop bar, Press. I had plans to meet a friend for a glass of wine that evening, and the sunset over the Hudson beckoned. I was checked in and on my way within minutes of arrival.
Arrival/Check-In: The Kempinski Hotel Dukes’ Palace in Bruges, Belgium, was once, as its name implies, the palace of the dukes. Duke Philip III built it in 1429, and in 2008 it became the first 5-star deluxe hotel in Bruges. Entering it today, one senses this is probably the closest a hotel can feel like entering a private home, albeit a particularly grand and spacious home. From a private courtyard, I came into a fine reception room where, unlike most hotels, there was no high counter, no crowd, no bustle, no piles of luggage. Instead, a friendly woman seated behind a desk greeted me and quickly checked me in.
Arrival/Check-In: When I arrived at the InterContinental New York Times Square, there were several eager doormen waiting to help guests with their luggage. I only had an overnight bag, so I declined assistance and headed straight to the front desk to check in. Greeting me with a warm smile, the gentleman at the front desk informed me I had been upgraded to a corner suite. A beautiful room, he assured me.
Arrival/Check-In: Spanning a block in the center of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Prince George Hotel is a modern, red-brick structure furnished conservatively with mahogany tables and plush traditional carpets. Even though it was 2:45 a.m., the efficient 24-hour front desk staff was on duty and sent me right up to a spacious guestroom on the uppermost (sixth-floor) Crown Floor. My questions about parking and wake-up calls were answered, and one of the doormen guided me downstairs, through the parking lot and across the street to pick up a slice of pizza to tide me over to breakfast.
Arrival/Check-In: I told the taxi driver I wanted to go to the Valley Wing. We pulled up to the Shangri-La, whizzed past the main entrance and around back to what seemed like a secret entrance. Although smaller than the main entrance, it was truly grand in its appearance. A doorman dressed to impress welcomed me and escorted me into the Champagne Bar for check-in. The lobby was adorned with Oriental accents and a magnificent wall hanging, all surrounded by beautiful Italian marble. I was checked in quickly and escorted to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: I don’t think a single property can beat the warm, gracious greeting I received at The Taj Mahal in New Delhi. I landed at the airport after an overnight stay in Mumbai and was picked up by the hotel. The driver radioed ahead, and the staff and concierge, Lakhya, were ready to take care of my rushed schedule. Two women in saris welcomed me, garlanding me with flowers and placing a smudge of vermillion (red dye) on my forehead. I had been in India for five days, but this simple ceremony made me feel even more welcome. I was taken to my eighth-floor club-level room and checked in. I also met my butler. I was preparing for a round of golf when Lakhya called, saying Delhi Golf Club had an 11:30 a.m. tee time for me. It was 11:10 a.m., so I rushed to the course.
Arrival/Check-In: “Discreet” best describes the entrance to The James hotel. Located in SoHo on the corner of Grand and Thompson streets, the signage is so subtle my cab driver missed it the first go-round. We circled back and found the entrance, but I was surprised when I realized the gentleman I thought was waiting for my cab turned out to be the hotel valet — his understated uniform did nothing to give away his occupation. I paid the cab driver and followed the valet into a small entrance to an elevator for a short ride to the lobby. While I was checking in, the front desk attendant mentioned I had been assigned a room on the 17th floor, right under the bar. She suggested it might be noisy and offered to find an alternative, but with nothing immediately available, I opted to take my chances with the original room and didn’t regret it for a minute.
Arrival/Check-In: A chic doorman helped me out of the taxi, and I was welcomed into the lobby of the Armani Hotel located in the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world. I was asked to sit on one of two semi-circular sofas, where a “lifestyle manager” took my check-in information.
Arrival/Check-In: I stepped into the main house of the iconic Raffles Singapore and was immediately transported to a grand world of the past. The receptionist welcomed me warmly and was excited to hear it was my first time at the hotel. She promptly checked me in, and I was escorted to my room. On the way, I asked a few questions about the main guesthouse and was truly impressed. The hotel first opened its doors in 1877, and the iconic main house remained the same since its opening in 1899. I was looking forward to exploring the pristinely kept grounds of the hotel.
Arrival/Check-In: When my train pulled into New York Penn Station, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was ready to leave the chaos that is New York City and relax in my room at The Kimberly. I hopped into a taxi, expecting a quick trip to the hotel. After sitting in traffic for 25 minutes I arrived, flustered because I was running behind schedule, had bags to carry and was exhausted. I was immediately at ease when the doorman offered to take my bags and showed me where to check in. The lobby, although extremely small, was lined in beautiful brown marble with a few plush chairs for guests to sit in. Everything had a touch of gold to it, giving the lobby a regal feel. Check-in took a bit longer than I hoped, as there was only one person at the desk.
Arrival/Check-In: After a four-hour flight delay, I was eager to check in to The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa and settle by the pool. As the taxi pulled up to the resort, my mood changed considerably. The staff were friendly as they removed my luggage and ushered me to check-in. The front desk staff were equally welcoming. There was no wait, but it seemed like people around me were checking in more quickly. Perhaps it was my impatience with the day’s delays, but check-in felt slower than I had hoped.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the hotel early in the day for a meeting, before check-in time. My room was not ready, so the front desk held my luggage. The attendant gave me my room key and an approximate time when my room would be ready. I also received a book on Munich culture and shopping highlights, complete with a map of the city. My luggage awaited me when I entered my room later in the day.
Arrival/Check-In: I was pleased to arrive at The Peninsula Tokyo from Narita Airport in record time. It was nice to pull in and see I was across the street from the Imperial Palace. The front door attendants welcomed me, took my luggage and walked me to reception at the back of the lobby. Kaori, guest relations supervisor, promptly greeted me and escorted me to my room.
Arrival/Check-In: The cool, modern lobby, infused with the scent of tropical flowers, is a welcome refuge from Borneo’s predictably humid weather, and the three people at the desk couldn’t have been more accommodating. Within minutes they sent me up to my room, which was perfectly lovely — but it was on the street side of the building. I returned to the reception desk. Was there any chance I could switch over to the river view? Yes, hesitation, but then you couldn’t have a king-sized bed — riverside rooms are outfitted with two queens. Since even a single queen-sized bed is more than adequate, within minutes I was moved across the hall to a room overlooking Kuching’s picturesque Sarawak River and the hotel’s namesake, historic whitewashed Fort Margherita, positioned on the far bank.
Arrival/Check-In: In keeping with its self-consciously stylish image — “luxury meets cutting-edge cool” — a simple W on an exterior wall of the renovated structure dating from 1775 is all that announces you’ve found St. Petersburg’s trendy W Hotel. Young men uniformed in jersey shirts open the doors, and a narrow purple carpet leads to the reception area where efficient clerks are stationed at glowing desks in front of a crackled-glass wall. While the clerks do the paperwork, guests nibble on chewy peanut candies and sip refreshing water flavored with citrus and mint.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in the evening and was looking to check in quickly, freshen up and meet business associates at Frankie’s Italian Restaurant & Bar in the hotel. However, I couldn’t help but pause to take in the lobby’s striking décor — modern and funky, with windows and glass installations. A unique and fresh lobby design. I was staying on the Fairmont Gold floor, and I was whisked to the seventh floor, where my check-in was personalized and private.
Arrival/Check-In: The Grosvenor House is located in the area of Dubai called The Marina. It is a beautiful area; and like many places in Dubai, it is still under construction, making the roads unpredictable. My taxi driver managed to zigzag around the construction, and I was immediately taken from a construction site to a world of luxury. A doorman escorted me up a small flight of steps into a grand lobby where a receptionist invited me to a plush sofa to complete my check-in.
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived at the Thompson Beverly Hills to a warm greeting from the doorman and front desk staff. Check-in was efficient and friendly; I was soon on my way to my seventh-floor corner suite. To access my floor, I had to insert my room key in a slot in the elevator, which I thought was a good idea since ABH, the hotel’s rooftop bar, is open to the public via the same elevators used for guestroom floors.
Arrival/Check-in: I was greeted with “Bonjour!” by the doorman upon my arrival at Los Angeles’ Sofitel, and we chatted about my trip as he escorted me to the front desk. After the swift check-in process, the front desk attendant walked me through the lobby and pointed out the hotel’s restaurant and bar, business center and concierge desk. She called for the elevator, and I proceeded to my room.
Arrival/Check-in: The doorman guided me from the taxicab straight to a chair next to an indoor pond. I was offered chilled towels and hibiscus tea. Fresh, aromatic flower petals coated the furniture and fixtures throughout the open-air lobby. The polite, friendly staff brought check-in paperwork to me, along with orientation information. After a short tour of the grounds, I was escorted to my room and reunited with my bag.
Arrival/Check-in: Guests were crowded around the concierge, debating dinner plans and eating complimentary cookies, when I arrived with my partner for a two-night stay. Having valeted the car and left the luggage in the trunk — a dapper porter named George would take it from there — I made my way to the beautiful, adobe-walled lobby with its gorgeous flagstone floor and a fire roaring in the hearth. The scent of piñon pines permeated the air, and soft leather chairs beckoned visitors to curl up with a good book. This, I thought as I stood before the massive, hand-carved front desk for a swift and friendly check-in, was just the Santa Fe I’d had in mind.
Arrival/Check-in: Upon our arrival, a doorman came out to welcome and usher us inside for a speedy registration. Salt Lake City’s only 5-star hotel earns the “grand” in its name. Built for Utah’s 2002 Olympic Games, it was designed and furnished with artwork and antiques personally selected by owners Earl and Carol Holding, who traveled the world not only to select specific pieces but also to oversee artisans’ crafting of custom furnishings and architectural details. In the entry, magnificent, handwoven Aubusson tapestries hang behind the registration and concierge desks; the gray and white Italian Fior di Pesco marble floor and walls are book- and end-matched; a Barovier and Tosso chandelier, custom-crafted from handblown Murano glass, shines above an Italian gold-leaf credenza with a green marble top. Such art and antique riches accent all public spaces.
Arrival/Check-in: Although we drove to the city, the hotel does provide a complimentary shuttle for guests arriving by air. Despite our early arrival, we found our room ready; a member of the staff reviewed a few amenities. We planned to meet a colleague at the hotel restaurant but learned it is closed between 2 and 5:30 p.m. Luckily, our room included Executive Concierge Level privileges, enabling the relocation of our meeting to the fourth floor.
Arrival/Check-in: A surrealistic bronze statue by Sergio Bustamante depicting a four-legged magician-clown greeted me in the gorgeous open-air lobby, which featured a beautiful fountain and an intimidating palapa roof that made me feel as if I had just entered a grand Aztlán temple. Next to the statue stood a bronze podium covered with disembodied ears and eyes with a message that read, “The magic begins here.”
Arrival/Check-in: Loaded down with luggage, we arrived a little past noon on a Saturday. The bellman assisted us with the bags and opened the wheelchair-accessible entrance at this century-old Edwardian property. Once inside, I rode a small elevator to reach the check-in desk. Because it was early, our room was not yet ready. Our bags were quickly tagged, and we left the hotel to explore Covent Garden.
Arrival/Check-in: The rooms manager welcomed us at reception and, seeing our disappointment at being in the new building, quickly switched us to the 1745 Schloss. That building preserves a countryhouse atmosphere that envelops guests as they enter the old manor’s gracious foyer, where cushy sofas encourage lingering. A modern glass elevator took us to our second-floor corner room overlooking the gardens.
Arrival/Check-in: Stretching almost 46 feet, the atrium lobby is designed to be an extension of the G Lounge, furnished with giant shaded chandeliers and island groups of upholstered ottomans and distinctive curvy chairs — named the Spoon, Capellini and Shell — created by noted designers. Guests can sip a signature cocktail or nibble sweet mousse cakes or other snacks while efficient attendants at the shimmering blue and lavender back-lit reception desk check them in.
Arrival/Check-in: After an early-morning flight and a long day of meetings, we crossed into Miami Beach, heading to Millionaire’s Row. The entrance to the Eden Roc glimmered in the evening light as we pulled into the driveway. Friendly bellmen wearing fedoras quickly escorted us into the hotel lobby, which buzzed with stylish guests surrounding the sunken circular bar. I was still taking in the nostalgic 1950s décor and unique architecture, originally designed by the famed Morris Lapidus, when, before I knew it, I had my key and was being directed to the elevators.
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles on a picturesque SoCal day — a heavenly break from the muggy temperatures I left on the East Coast. I was instantly helped from my car and assisted with my luggage. The front lobby was small but elegant. Members of the staff greeted me and quickly checked me into my room.
Arrival/Check-in: We arrived on a morning flight to Bilbao, and after a 10-minute drive, we were welcomed and checked in quickly — in time for a nap before lunch to recover from the overnight journey. From the interior glass elevator en route to our room, we could more fully appreciate the soaring (and stunning) atrium and its monumental eight-story wire mesh pillar filled with sea-worn rocks.
Arrival/Check-in: When I checked into the Four Seasons Park Lane earlier this year, the hotel had just reopened after a 28-month, entire-property renovation. The front desk staff, mostly former employees who spent the past two years working at other Four Seasons hotels around the world, have apparently returned to Park Lane with a renewed enthusiasm. The entire check-in experience was fast, and smiles were evident throughout the lobby. The plush red leather strips on the elevator walls smelled so good that I felt like I was taking a vertical ride in a new Rolls-Royce. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Our arrival was delayed by the limo driver, who mistook the Meliá Valencia for the older Meliá Valencia Palace, a few blocks away on Paseo de la Alameda. But the staff at the Palace quickly called to confirm that our reservations were for the newer sister property, and at last we rolled our luggage into the right hotel. The staff there was apologetic, although it was clearly not their fault that the two hotel names were so confusingly similar. We were checked in quickly and on our way to our Meliá Supreme Room. (28/30)
Sofitel Hamburg Alter Wall Arrival/Check-in: As I entered the lobby, a woman in a smart black suit rushed from behind the desk to take my luggage and welcomed me, asking me to sign the already completed registration. She escorted me immediately to my room, stopping to point the way to the breakfast room, café, restaurant and dedicated elevator to the spa, telling me the open hours of each. (30/30)
Photo: Francis X. Gallagher Arrival/Check-in: After driving from Pennsylvania, we arrived in New Paltz and followed our GPS through winding roads and hills to the entrance of the resort. Security checked us in at the gate, and we drove for another two miles to the sprawling old hotel complex, which looks more like the castle in Harry Potter than a hotel. A staff of pleasant bellmen greeted us as I pulled the car up under the porte cochere and took our bevy of luggage. We were directed to the front desk and were immediately taken with the Dirty Dancing-like theme of the surroundings. Our luggage was delivered promptly to our rooms. (28/30)
PHOTO: Magda Biemat Arrival/Check-in: The hotel’s Park Avenue address can be a bit deceiving. I pulled up to what I thought was the main entrance, but there wasn’t a hotel-affiliated soul in sight. I clicked on my hazard lights and dashed inside to find a bellman. That’s when I learned the main entrance is actually around the corner on E. 29th Street. With logistics clear, I circled the block, dropped my car with the valet, handed my bags over to the bellman and entered the smallish lobby, with a cozy sitting area and fireplace, for a quick check-in. (28/30)
St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel Arrival/Check-in: After an all-night flight to London, we zipped over to Paddington Station on the Heathrow Express, where we hailed a black taxi. Within 10 minutes, we were outside one of the most spectacular buildings in the city. On the quiet Sunday morning when we arrived, a gentleman in a jacket and tall hat stood outside ready to welcome us. I almost wished he was not so helpful, since I needed a moment to take in the beauty of the exterior, designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1873. The block-long building is one of London’s most romantic landmarks.
Hotels Raising the Bar on Luxury A comfortable bed, a room with a view and spot-on service aren’t enough anymore. To lure work-harried travelers, hotels need to go beyond what used to be luxurious extras. Those are now considered the basics as hotels lay on extra perks for the club floors, upgrade amenities and add thoughtful services that give them that memorable edge above the competition.
Arrival/Check-in: I zipped through the traffic at Columbus Circle and pulled up in front of the hotel, where a bellman was ready and waiting to take my bags and escort me into the lobby. Smaller than I had expected — but particularly cozy on a cold and rainy day — the lobby featured a check-in desk on the right and a small sitting area on the left. The elevator bank was directly in front of me, opposite the hotel entrance. Check-in was quick and easy; I was on my way to my room within minutes of arrival. As I waited for the elevator, I chatted with an attendant who, much to my delight, remembered me and asked pertinent questions about my day, meetings, etc., every time our paths crossed throughout my two-night stay. (30/30) Guest Quarters: My Executive Park View Suite opened to a spacious living area with a marble guest bath (complete with a shower) on the right and a well-equipped galley kitchen, outfitted with Sub-Zero appliances, on the left. I got a kick out of the bottled water: Trump-branded with The Donald's smiling face front and center. The space was divided into three informal areas — dining (illuminated by a handcrafted Schonbeck crystal chandelier), relaxing and working. The ample desk, strategically placed to optimize a gorgeous view of Central Park through floor-to-ceiling windows, offered everything I needed, including conveniently placed electrical outlets. Internet service was based on a two-tier system: complimentary for standard-speed connections and at a nominal fee for faster service. I opted to stick with standard and was not the least bit disappointed. I suppose guests transferring mega-files might want the faster service, but for run-of-the–mill communications and research, standard is definitely the way to go. The separate bedroom featured a king-sized bed with plenty of pillows, high-thread-count linens and a cozy duvet, in addition to a sitting area overlooking the park. The main bath (tub/shower combo), also marble, was well equipped with plush towels, quality bath products and amenity kits containing just about everything a guest might need. A wall-mounted vanity mirror tilted to the perfect angle for make-up application. In my opinion, these little and often overlooked touches make a world of difference. My only complaint: a closet door so heavy I could barely slide it open. Or it could have been caught on the plush carpet. Either way, it was a small inconvenience. (28/30) Services/Amenities: The standout feature during my stay at the Trump International Hotel & Tower was personal service from the staff. I felt more like a resident of a private apartment building than a guest in a hotel. Time didn't permit a visit to the spa, a swim in the 55-foot indoor swimming pool or a meal at the 3-Michelin-star Jean-Georges. Perhaps next visit. (40/40) The Experience: Shortly after my stay at New York's Trump International Hotel & Tower, I was watching an episode of Celebrity Apprentice. The challenge involved creating an ad campaign for the hotel. While the celeb contestants wrangled with the concept of "luxury" and how to express it, I thought, a bit smugly, "I'd win this one." Trump International Hotel & Tower is about luxury, but that's understood and there are plenty of luxury hotels in New York City. What sets this property apart is the feeling of coming home. My winning slogan would have been: At Trump, you're part of the family. Total Score: 98/100 Trump International Hotel & Tower New York One Central Park West New York, NY 10023 tel 212 299 1000
Arrival/Check-in: I drove from Manhattan to Boston using the driving directions from The Lenox Hotel’s website and found the hotel without any problems. When pulling up to the property, I asked the doorman how much it was to park in the neighboring parking lot. Valet parking at the hotel was only $2 more, so I happily turned over the keys.
Arrival/Check-in: It was a dreary New York City day when I arrived. The Peninsula bell staff eagerly assisted, helping me stay dry in the rainy conditions. They took my bag and personally escorted me to check-in, up a flight of stairs to the right and then to the left. Check-in was quick, and I was in my suite in no time. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: It’s easy to spot the Marina Bay Sands from most places in Singapore. An architectural feat, the hotel’s three towers are connected across the top by a SkyPark on the 55th floor. After spotting it on my drives, I was eager to view the interior. The entrance was crowded with cars, and reception was just as busy, meaning check-in took a long time. A string quartet in the lobby eased the waiting process. Luckily, my room was in Tower 1, as the other towers were a long walk from the entrance. (26/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Situated along Singapore’s Marina Bay, the Fullerton Bay Hotel is a new addition to The Fullerton Heritage precinct, a project dedicated to offering waterfront hospitality and dining. Also in this area is the historic Fullerton Hotel Singapore. The check-in desk is a short walk from the entrance. Upon entering, I was immediately taken by the artwork. A long room, full of interesting objects, extends from the doors. I strolled right, past The Landing Point waterfront lounge to check in. After a few minutes, I was headed to my room. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: We arrived at the newly opened Cassa Hotel and Residences on a cold, windy day in January. It was shortly after a snowstorm, so we were happy to use the valet parking service to avoid trudging through mountains of snow with our luggage. We were a little surprised that although three people were working at the front desk, none of them offered to help as we struggled to get our bags through the revolving door. The lobby was striking, with a large, red, boomerang-shaped desk and brightly colored artwork on the walls. The hotel was still a work in progress, so some of the walls were hidden by large, white curtains. A friendly woman greeted us and quickly checked us in, pointing the way to the elevators. Again, no one offered to help with our bags. (25/30) Guest Quarters: We stayed in an executive room with a king-sized bed. The room was stylish but small, not quite what the photos on the website showed. As we walked around searching for a closet to hang our garment bags, we were surprised to find none. There was a small cabinet that housed a safe, but the area with hangers was only deep enough to hang shirts and not our winter coats or the dress and suit we had packed for the GT awards event the next day. We resorted to hanging them on the bathroom door, which meant the door couldn’t be closed.
Arrival/Check-in: After waiting for a taxi at JFK in 17-degree weather for 45 minutes, walking into the warm, friendly lobby of The Mark was a treat. The modern lobby has bold black and white marble flooring and inviting couches. The concierge greeted me and check-in was prompt. I was shown to my room, my suitcase was sent up, and I was wished a good stay. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: The doorman spotted me approaching on foot, luggage in tow, and immediately came over, took my bags and escorted me into the hotel. Even better, my requested early check-in was available. Although the bellman who escorted me to my room had asked if I had any questions, I later wished he had shown me how to operate the myriad knobs controlling the deep soaking tub with both handheld and rain showerheads. (29/30)
Like the city it serves, Budapest Ferihegy International Airport (BUD) still bears the scars of the Allied bombing raids that destroyed its buildings more than 60 years ago. But with a $345 million modernization program in the works, Hungary’s main hub — home to national carrier Malév — is vying to be the region’s best.
photo: Park Hyatt Arrival/Check-in: Two bellmen greeted me as I arrived at Park Hyatt Washington, D.C. on a warm October day. As they whisked my small bag into the lobby, I paused to appreciate the stunning entryway defined on both sides by silhouettes of cherry blossom branches. I later learned the artistic display is the work of New York photographer Amanda Weil, who photographed Washington, D.C.’s iconic cherry trees and laminated the images onto 10-foot glass panels. The graceful images combined with the clean lines of the lobby décor gave rise to a definite East-meets-West ambience. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: We made a few erroneous twists and turns through the maze of downtown Nassau before we finally pulled up in front of the hotel, where we were greeted like family. As the bellman took our bags from the trunk of our rental car, he called to a burly gentleman a few yards up the quiet street. The gentleman, Graycliff Hotel owner Enrico Garzaroli, turned back to welcome us with a bear claw of a handshake and warm wishes for a pleasant stay. We entered through a gate into a small garden and proceeded up a few steps to the verandah of the main house. Following a quick check-in, the bellman grabbed our bags and signaled us to follow him up a grand staircase to our second-floor room. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: We arrived early at Lisbon Airport (LIS), and after finally finding the car rental attendant, we were off and running. The hotel is halfway between the airport and downtown, so we pulled up in front of the property in a jiffy. The porters took the car and our bags, and we were ushered into the hotel. The front desk personnel were incredibly friendly and attentive. Fortunately, our rooms were available and we were able to get settled, shower and enjoy breakfast in the lobby restaurant, Lobby Bistro. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: We arrived in Lugano by train direct from Zürich Airport and hadn’t even emerged from the station when we saw the smartly uniformed driver holding a brass-framed sign with our names. Our luggage was whisked into the van; and we headed downhill to the lakeshore, where the doorman welcomed us and escorted us to the desk in the wide, gleaming marble lobby. We were again welcomed, checked in immediately (although it was barely noon) and provided with maps and information about Lugano. The receptionist gave us a brief tour of the first floor, where a few other guests sat in the elegant but comfortable sitting areas overlooking the lake; it was all most genteel, without a hint of old grand hotel dowdiness. We were escorted to our room, and less than 15 minutes after stepping off the train we were standing on our balcony, soaking in one of Europe’s loveliest views. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived at St. Giles Hotel – The Court earlier than expected, and my room was not available. Although I had no problem with simply checking in and leaving my bag at the hotel for the day, the manager on duty and the director of accommodations were gracious enough to accommodate me with a beautiful top-floor corner suite. Since I was in New York for a small family gathering, this actually worked out to our benefit; we were all able to gather in my room for an evening of dinner and socializing. (25/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Following a long trans-Pacific flight, I was eager to sleep when my flight landed shortly after midnight. I zipped through Customs and found the hotel’s driver waiting. We were in the car and on our way quickly. A complimentary airport transfer is one of many perks included in a stay at the Quincy. Check-in was as seamless as my ride from the airport. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I drove from Lisbon to Evora in an hour and a half, circumventing part of the walled city to head to the Convento do Espinheiro Hotel and Spa. As we arrived, staff members Paul and Nuno were on hand to greet us, take our luggage and park our car. It was like arriving at a private residence and being treated to a special trip with friends. For the rest of the trip the car was not needed, as hotel staff drove us to various points.
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived — exhausted after an early-morning transcontinental flight and a full day of meetings — eager to get to my room and relax for a bit. Luckily, the staff at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills read my mind. I kept my luggage with me, and the front desk attendant was friendly and professional. She came around the desk and directed me to the elevators, and I was on my way. My one tiny complaint: The elevators were consistently slow. I must add, check-in is tucked away to the left, but the beauty of the entryway and lobby is something to be admired as you make your way in. (27/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Due to a delayed flight into Miami Airport, I didn’t arrive at The Setai South Beach until after midnight. There are two entrances: a discreet hotel entrance on Collins Avenue and the entrance to the residences, which is easier to access, thanks to a roundabout. The taxi driver dropped me by the residence entrance. The concierge at the tower promptly found a porter to escort me to the main desk of the Art Deco building. To a newcomer, the walk inside the property was a bit of a maze, especially at midnight, but I knew immediately I was in for a treat as I was transported from Miami into a Pan-Asian world of luxury. Once I arrived at the front desk, I was checked in and escorted to my room within minutes. (26/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived as the sun was setting on Beijing and took a taxi to the hotel. I had forgotten to bring the name and address of the hotel in Chinese for the driver, so en route I found the hotel on my iPhone, which helped. The staff greeted me and took my heavy golf bag full of Global Traveler issues, presentation kits and, of course, my clubs. The front desk personnel were friendly and pleasant, giving me the details about my golf game the following day at the Grand Canal course. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: My flight from New York was delayed by many hours because of the second ash cloud incident in May, which meant a longer than normal flight and a very tired and slightly grumpy traveler. Adding to my grumpiness was the fact that my arrival coincided with the start of evening rush hour, so the taxi ride to my hotel took twice as long as the usual 40-plus minutes. So it was a somewhat disgruntled traveler who arrived at the hotel to find a warm welcome from the doormen and the front desk. My mood quickly lifted on entering this elegant hotel, which has been one of the “best” hotels in Madrid since it opened in the 1950s. I was staying in a Club room, so check-in took place in the Club Lounge on the second floor (first floor in Europe) by a very efficient and friendly Club hostess while I sipped a complimentary glass of wine. I was quickly on my way to my room. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: It’s impossible to walk into the InterContinental Athenaeum Athens without stopping dead in your tracks. The life-size Blue Man sculpture somersaulting in the middle of a square bench in the lobby will do that to a person. Striking artwork is on display throughout the hotel and is worth checking out. The lobby was busy, but check-in was speedy. Before heading to my room, I stopped in the Club InterContinental lounge for a quick bite and a cup of coffee. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: We arrived at Vila Vita Parc exhausted after an overnight flight followed by a long layover before our connecting flight and, finally, an hour’s drive on unfamiliar roads. What a pleasure, then, when the front desk clerk greeted us by name as the valet quietly scooped our bags from the car. Our senses awakened, we began to notice our surroundings: a comfortable lobby leading to a sitting area and an expansive balcony beyond. Head Butler José Vila-Nova approached to introduce himself and escort us to our room. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: The early-May weather had thrown the usually sunny city of Lisbon for a loop: Everyone we met apologized as if they personally were responsible for windswept rains that soaked the city. Truth be told, the stormy weather did little to dampen our enthusiasm. We were, however, happy to notice the covered carport when we pulled up in front of the hotel. A valet quickly whisked our bags from the car, took the keys, handed us a parking receipt and drove off — after apologizing for the weather. The spacious lobby was a bright spot on an overcast day. As we checked in, we noticed the cozy lobby bar and vowed to return for a late lunch after dropping our bags in our room. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I drove from LAX, and once I entered Beverly Hills, I found the Montage very quickly with good directions from the hotel. Pulling into the Montage felt like pulling into a decadent and exclusive home-away-from-home. The valet took my car and welcomed me to the hotel. The front desk receptionist took my name, and another staff person escorted me to my suite. Just as we finished the brief in-room check-in, my luggage arrived. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: When I arrived at Hotel Palomar, it was a beautiful spring afternoon in Philadelphia. The staff immediately assisted me with my luggage and welcomed me to the property. I was intrigued by the unique design of the hotel. Adorned with vibrant portraits of Thomas Jefferson and colorful sculptures of Benjamin Franklin, the boutique property had a contemporary twist on American history. After taking a moment to enjoy the atmosphere, I approached the front desk where check-in was fast, easy and friendly. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Check-in at The Peninsula Tokyo was fast and efficient, as almost everything is in this sprawling but well-engineered city. Several employees at the lobby’s revolving front door, young men and women dressed in tailored dark suits, knew my name even before I approached the reception desk. How do some 5-star hotels do this? A registration card and room key were presented immediately, and within minutes I was on my way to my room, perfect timing after the long trans-Pacific flight. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived at the Elysian after a traffic-filled drive from Chicago O’Hare Airport to find a courtyard reminiscent of Paris, with a water fountain that immediately soothed this weary traveler’s nerves. The doorman warmly welcomed me and escorted me to the reception desk. Check-in was fast and efficient and before I knew it, I was being escorted to my Gold Coast Suite. My escort showed me around the large suite, which felt more like a private apartment than a hotel room. As he was leaving, he said the Elysian is a tip-free hotel, which, I must admit, is a first for me. (30/30)
On the Ground: I arrived at the counter at JFK with plenty of time. The check-in agents were busy with their own conversations regarding the flight, but check-in was quick and efficient. I received a pass to the business-class lounge located before security and went on my way. The lounge is spacious and comfortable; it is shared by several other air carriers with flights also departing for the Middle East at the same time. I got a bit of work done and headed for security. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: The Fairmont’s fairly new Battery Wharf property is nestled in its own quiet enclave extending into Boston’s peaceful Battery Wharf. I arrived early in the morning and felt as though I were checking into my own personal property. As the Fairmont is comprised of four buildings, the property is situated on its own small, cobblestone street. Check-in was fast and easy, and the concierge was extremely helpful in recommending the best seafood restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Following a staff meeting and great lunch with my New York- and Pennsylvania-based colleagues, I took their advice and set out, roller-bag in tow, for Hyatt at the Bellevue. Their directions for the 10-minute walk were right on the money, but I made a mistake at the last turn — left instead of right. It didn’t take me long to realize my error when I asked a patrolman in uniform to set me straight. Turned out the gentleman was not a police officer but one of Philadelphia’s official guides. He graciously walked me to the hotel entrance and, in the process, left an indelible impression of Philadelphia as one of the friendliest cities I have ever visited. Fast-forward to actual arrival at the hotel — perfectly uneventful in a very good way. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: When riding in from the airport, one’s first sight of Medellín is from high above, and the road drops into it through a posh hillside neighborhood. Halfway down, suspended above the city, stands the InterContinental. Still wowed by the dramatic approach, we stepped out of the taxi, from which the bellman took our luggage. It arrived at our room less than five minutes after our speedy check-in by the English-speaking reception staff. The marble and glass lobby is large, airy and bright, with several comfortable seating areas opening to a lounge and bar. That space is surrounded by glass and overlooks the hotel’s large swimming pool, set in a garden terrace with trees. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: By the time my cab pulled up to the hotel entrance at 11 a.m., I had been traveling for 24 hours. The bellman offered a warm greeting and whisked away my bag to sites unknown. I tend to travel light and I prefer to cart my own luggage, so I was a bit apprehensive when my bag disappeared. I was looking forward to catching a few hours of sleep and didn’t want to wait for my bag to arrive in my room. As I walked to the reception desk at the far end of the lobby, I noticed the adjacent restaurant and the bar were quiet for midday; nary a patron in sight. The front desk clerk was friendly and efficient. She called the guest service manager, who escorted me to my room, where my bags were waiting. (29/30)
On May 3, OpenSkies, the unique all-business class airline, launched service between Washington, D.C. and Paris Orly. Aiming to solidify its position as an innovator and leader in the business-class travel sector, the airline brought passengers a much-needed service, a first-of-its-kind route between these two important business and leisure destinations.
Arrival/Check-in: I didn’t know of The Sutton Place Hotel prior to this visit to Chicago. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was located in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, across the street from Gibson’s Steakhouse. The doorman welcomed me with a smile while I was left to find the front desk on my own. The receptionist was friendly and apologetic, as my room wasn’t ready yet. I waited for a few minutes in the lobby, which was comfortable but dark, leaving me with the impression I was still in the 1980s when the hotel first opened as Hotel 21 East. (27/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Check-in at Andaz Wall Street is a quick and unique process. Instead of waiting for me to approach them at a front desk, the hosts greeted me with an electronic clipboard, and I was checked in and my credit card swiped in a matter of minutes. This was convenient given that I was attending Global Traveler’s awards ceremony and I didn’t have time to wait in any lines. Luggage was delivered to my room promptly. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I was traveling to Atlanta with a colleague, and we arrived early in the morning for meetings. Between appointments we decided to check in and have a quick bite at the hotel’s restaurant. We pulled up to the front of the hotel, where a few words and a nice tip kept my car parked outside and ready for our swift exit to afternoon meetings. The bellman’s curse - rolling luggage - meant we needed no assistance. We were swiftly given keys and went to our rooms before lunch to check a few emails.(26/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Arriving at a Four Seasons property is much like stepping into your own personal musical. My experience at the Four Seasons Chicago began just outside the entrance on East Delaware Place. I was fumbling with my cab receipts as the driver was cursing at me for paying with a credit card. Suddenly, my door flew open and a smiling doorman extended his hand to magically whisk me out of the cab. He kindly took my luggage and advised that he would have it delivered to my suite at once. At this point, I could practically hear the orchestra kicking off its musical number as I waved goodbye to the cab and whistled my way to the lobby on the seventh floor. Check-in was swift and easy. I was escorted to my room, and my luggage arrived promptly. Complimentary fruits, chocolate and bottled water arrived shortly after. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: My arrival at the Erawan was handled very professionally. Each time I arrived or departed, the pleasant front door staff, all in white, greeted me. Check-in was swift. I had a significant number of bags since I was traveling with materials and copies of Global Traveler. All were delivered without incident, and I was safely in my room, ready to hit the hay for the next morning’s meetings. (27/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived in Chicago, a city I have been to many times, only this time I was not staying in a traditional huge hotel but in a boutique hotel located right in The Loop and theater district at Washington and State streets. I was impressed that the lobby was not big but intimate and attractive, with a small front desk next to elevators and a restaurant. The check-in process was quick and easy, and the personnel were proper and friendly enough. I was soon on my way to the room. Even though there were bellmen, nobody helped with luggage or directions to the room. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Heavy, wet snow was falling as I made my way by taxi from New York Penn Station to The Kimberly Hotel at East 50th Street and Lexington Avenue. A smiling bellman had my bag out of the trunk and an umbrella at the ready long before I had finished paying the driver. I entered a small but cozy lobby comprised of a small sitting area and the reception desk. The pleasant clerk processed my check-in as I perused a framed letter sent by President Jimmy Carter following an April 2001 stay at The Kimberly. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: If there is one thing about Ritz-Carlton hotels that will always be consistent, it’s class. When I first set foot on the Ritz’s Chicago property, I was instantly reminded of the years of experience and class this hotel brand carries. The lobby is not flashy or overwhelmingly grand. Its style is classic and commands respect. Check-in was quick and quiet, and my bags were promptly delivered to my suite. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived late morning after a short flight from Boston. It was my first visit to Chicago, so I was looking forward to discovering what about the city led just about everyone I told about my visit to respond with a dreamy look that said, “I love Chicago.” I got my first hint when the doorman opened my cab door and greeted me by name. How did he do that? I still don’t know. Check-in was quick and easy. Before I knew it I was opening the door to my guestroom. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I was due at the McCormick Center, so I just wanted to quickly drop my bag at the hotel and be on my way, saving the check-in process for later. Unfortunately, I don’t think the front desk staffer understood my request or my lack of time, so 15 minutes later I was fully checked in and on my way. When I returned later that night, the staff was quick to grab my bag from storage. (26/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived around 10 p.m. There was no doorman outside, but the front desk staff welcomed me with a smile and quick check-in. I was asked if I knew the amenities of the hotel. I did not, and was given a brief explanation at the front desk of the bar/restaurant, gym, spa and golf club located within the hotel. Shortly after, I was in my room. (27/30)
Arrival/Check-in: After a delayed but scenic Amtrak ride from New Jersey, my colleague and I arrived in Boston with just a little bit of time to grab some necessities, freshen up and hit the road. Luckily, the hotel was a short walk from the train station. When we arrived at the hotel after the official check-in time, our room was not yet ready. The front desk clerk told us it would be available within the hour, so we ran out to a nearby mall, picked up what we needed and went back to the hotel. We checked on our room status again, and the desk attendant was quick to remind us it hadn’t yet been an hour, but grudgingly double-checked. Unfortunately, our room was still far from ready. We had an evening engagement and needed to do a quick change, so the attendant offered to let us use another room for the time being. When we returned later that night, they had moved our luggage to the two-bedroom we had been expecting. (26/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Hotel Sorella is a brand-new property — so new, in fact, that the full outdoor signage had yet to arrive. Needless to say, the hotel was difficult to find. Our GPS did not recognize the address, and we drove past it a few times. Once we pulled up, the staff quickly took our bags and led us to the check-in desk. Within a few minutes, we were escorted to our separate rooms. (27/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I don’t think I ever truly understood the definition of the word “efficiency” until I arrived at the Conrad Tokyo. As I stepped out of the taxi, the bellman asked my name and took my luggage. From that point on the entire staff was one step ahead of me. From the ground-floor lobby, sleek with a bell desk and sculpture, I proceeded to the 28th-floor main lobby. Floating above Tokyo, modern design continued to exude urban luxury. The hotel manager escorted me to the long check-in desk and then directed me to another set of elevators to the guestrooms; my check-in process was seamless. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Two girlfriends and I escaped to Palm Beach for the weekend. After an early-morning flight, we arrived at Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) ready to relax. The hotel had arranged for a car service to pick us up, and the driver was waiting for us in baggage claim. Within minutes, we were in the car and on our way. The trip was quick and full of conversation as the driver filled us in on the area and answered our questions. Once we pulled up to the Brazilian Court, friendly bell staff greeted us. I have to note the exceptional staff at the property. They were always personable and willing to help. After a quick check-in, we were escorted to our room. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: On a clear, crisp February afternoon I arrived at The Inn @ St. Botolph in Boston’s Back Bay and walked through the front door directly to my room. The inn, opened in November 2008, was restored to blend into the fabric of this historic area. Unlike most hotels with the traditional front desk, the management has streamlined check-in and check-out by giving guests a keyless access code (provided online at time of confirmation) for entry into the inn and their rooms. By doing away with a grand reception area and the manpower needed to staff it, the inn can offer guests a very affordable price while maintaining all that is expected of an upscale hotel. The only requirement for checking out is to simply close the door behind you. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-In: The Hermitage Hotel is Tennessee’s only 5-diamond, 5-star property, and guests definitely feel the historic grandeur immediately upon entering the hotel. As my car pulled to the curb, attentive doormen whisked me and my luggage in the door and up the steps into the large, stately lobby. Brightly lit with seating options galore, the lobby is spacious, welcoming and luxurious. While many of the staffers offered to help me with my bag, I opted to take it to my guestroom myself as I had just arrived from an early-morning flight and was eager to shower and check emails as soon as I settled in. Thankfully, check-in via the friendly front desk attendants was quick, and I was on my way in no time. Guest Quarters: The hotel is an icon in the city of Nashville, with a history dating to 1908. There was not much left to be desired from my deluxe guestroom at The Hermitage Hotel. For my three-night, four-day stay, I had everything I needed and then some, including a pillow menu and an on-call bath concierge, if desired. The room opened into a small foyer with a spacious closet to the left. The large bathroom, straight ahead, featured a double sink/vanity, a separate shower, a deep soaking tub and a separate water closet. The Molton Brown amenities included a scented candle. In the bedroom area, two nightstands with lamps flanked my comfortable king-sized bed. To the left of the bed sat a desk and, at the foot of the bed, a bench. The room also boasted a small table and chairs, giving the feel of a suite with separate living and sleeping areas in the standard guestroom. Nightly turn-down service included water, cookies and sweets. Services/Amenities: While I did not have an in-room coffeemaker, the hotel makes complimentary coffee and tea available each morning in the lower-level Capitol Grille. I had early mornings each day of my Nashville stay, and I very much appreciated the to-go coffee station. Capitol Grille remains a place to dine and be seen in Nashville, and the cream of onion soup is a must. In addition to on-site and in-room dining, the pet-friendly Hermitage Hotel offers all the other amenities a luxury traveler craves, including valet parking, laundry services, on-site shoe-shining services, Rachel’s Boutique gift shop, a business center, a fitness center and spa, and meeting and event space. The Experience: From beginning to end, Nashville, its people, its attractions and its accommodations impressed me. With a perfect location walkable to the heart of downtown Nashville, The Hermitage Hotel provided the perfect base for my visit, and its history proved a definite bonus.
Arrival/Check-in: After a four-hour fog delay on a redeye flight, I arrived disheveled and exhausted at the Fiesta Americana Grand Chapultepec. The taxi door opened at the curb to reveal a bellman already in possession of my bag, ready to assist me out of the cab. The lobby was small but the desk staff efficient, and checking in was effortless. The bellman showed me to my room and explained every detail to insure my enjoyment and comfort. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: The hotel offers check-in service at Cairo International Airport (CAI), allowing the jet-lagged traveler to head straight for the shower upon arrival at the hotel. But to the hotel’s credit, this service doesn’t save much time; my check-in at the front desk was swift and painless. Besides, I wanted to soak in the atmosphere of that lobby — a marbled hallway opens up into a light-filled, high-ceilinged space with soaring columns, sleek furnishings and an imposing obelisk flanked by four sphinxes. The lobby, populated with Westerners in suits and Cairenes and Saudis in their dishdasha and checkered head scarves, is busy yet relatively hushed, the noise never enough to disturb a conversation. The hotel is adjacent to the Middle East’s largest retail and entertainment complex, but the location doesn’t take away from its exclusiveness; and the hotel’s security is reassuringly tight, with guards and metal detectors at every entrance. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived late to Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), and I knew the hotel was close by but was surprised to discover it was literally located right as I left security. The property fits the relatively new airport and, in fact, it is owned by the airport and managed by Westin. The McNamara Terminal at Detroit is a modern marvel and fitting to the Westin décor. There was only one other guest and several clerks at check-in, so I had no wait. My room was ready and waiting, and I was graciously directed to the elevators. From flight to room in just a few minutes: It was quite amazing. (27/30)
Arrival/Check-in: After traversing the full length of Saipan from the airport by van (about 25 minutes), I arrived at the Mariana Resort’s vast open-air lobby, passing their tennis courts, go-cart track and horse-riding field on the way. Once check-in was handled, I was loaded into a golf cart for the short ride to the Reefside building where I would stay for six nights. (27/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived at the Beijing Airport for the second time in my life and was excited to embark on my business trip in China. I was full of confidence, but did breathe a sigh of relief when I saw a porter from the InterContinental waiting for me, literally as I got off the airplane. She escorted me through customs, to baggage claim and into the hands of the driver and limo service to the hotel, a service I highly recommend.
Arrival/Check-in: Personal and welcoming, as if being embraced by well-honed staff at my own private manse, aptly describes my reception at the Hazelton Hotel, which opened in the heart of Toronto’s elegant Yorkville just in time for the invasion of movie moguls and celebrities for the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival. Immediately upon my arrival in the lobby — a contemporary, residentialstyle enclave that speaks volumes of artistic taste — an attendant toted my overnighter and computer to my room while noting a host of amenities along the way. En route I was asked if anything could be arranged, from restaurant and spa reservations to a map of shops, art galleries and cultural sites within walking distance, or if the hotel’s chauffeur-driven Mercedes Benz could drop me anywhere. My room was stocked with complimentary cold beverages, Wolfgang Puck coffee and a variety of teas. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: After being greeted by a very friendly staff and an easy check-in, I was escorted on a tour of the 36th floor, which included the Royal Health Spa, an outside pool attached to a floating bar and a well-equipped gym open 24 hours a day. I was then taken to my room on the 24th floor, where my luggage was waiting. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: From SFO I took a cab to the Four Seasons in the Yerba Buena cultural district, an area only a short walk from Union Square and the Financial District. I made my way to the lobby, which is located on an upper floor. (There was plenty of staff available for direction.) Check-in was swift, and I was in my suite in a matter of minutes. With just a small roller bag, I did not need assistance from the friendly staff. (27/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Monsoon season had just kicked off as I arrived in Cochin, so the covered hotel entryway was a welcome sight, as was the lovely attendant who greeted me inside and offered a cold towel and a mouth-watering piece of chocolate before ushering me to a comfortable lobby sitting area while she processed my arrival. The main building, the lobby and some guestrooms at Taj Malabar are housed in a 1935 lodge on Willingdon Island. A short causeway connects the island to the mainland. The lobby reflects its heritage as an early 20th-century lodge. Illuminated by wall sconces, it’s a dark and cozy place with a wood-paneled ceiling and dark wood furniture. The lobby bar, one step up from the main lobby, is equally inviting. Within a few minutes, I was making my way up the creaky wooden staircase to my second-floor guestroom. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Boston is my hometown, but the landscape has changed significantly in recent years following the completion of the Big Dig — a decades-long project that involved replacing an elevated central artery that effectively divided the city with an underground tunnel. Addresses that I had become used to viewing from high above via the old-and-ugly overpass — or from under the shadows of the same structure — are now at an easy-toaccess street level. The InterContinental Boston is located at one of those addresses. We pulled up at the curb amid heavy traffic, but the valet was right there ready to whisk our bags from the trunk and send our car off to the parking garage. The check-in desk was off to the right of an open lobby that extended all the way to the back of the property offering views of the Fort Point Channel. We were traveling light, so with wheelie bags in tow we were off to our room in no time flat. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Opened in February 2007, this slick business hotel in Barcelona’s business district is somewhat distant from the best parts of the city, but equally distant from the noise and exhaust fumes. Nearby shopping is noteworthy, but food options outside the hotel are dismal. The hotel was rather quiet during my stay, so I usually had the undivided attention of the desk staff whenever I wandered up with a question, including during check-in, which was swift and friendly. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Immediately upon arriving at the opulent Kowloon Shangri-La’s main reception, I was escorted to the 20th floor to check in at the Horizon Club. Along the way, the concierge explained the complimentary privileges for guests on the two club floors: butler service; Internet and wireless access in guestrooms and the Horizon Business Centre, which is always stocked with beverages, chocolates, fruits and cookies; 24-hour access to the 21st floor Horizon Lounge for full breakfasts, sandwiches and dim sum at lunch, snacks and cocktails at the happy hour, and beverages around the clock; fresh morning coffee delivered for the wake-up call; and free pressing for one suit. In my room, I found a welcoming pot of Chinese tea, an assortment of fresh fruit and my bags. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: The Condado Plaza Resort & Casino is two hotels in one. The two stand-alone buildings, connected by a second floor covered walkway, meld into one uniform property. Still, each has its distinct advantages. We pulled into the circular drive in front of the waterfront building. At the time, it was a stark and rather unwelcoming arrival setting, but management had identified it as a problem area and was quickly working to warm it up with strategically placed lighting and landscaping. The other minus (again, corrections were on the planning board at the time of my visit) was the configuration of the entry door relative to the front desk. The expansive lobby offers a straight-shot view of the ocean — but the front desk and the entry door were tucked into a corner near the elevator bank. The result was initial disappointment followed by relief when we realized the full extent of the lobby. (25/30)
Arrival/Check-in: The traditional façade of Casanova Barcelona Hotel belies its hip interior. Before my taxi had even come to a complete stop, two valets were waiting on the curb in front of the kitty-cornered hotel entrance ready to grab my bags and escort me to the front desk. The lobby was something of a Zen experience after a busy morning spent flying in from Madrid and navigating Barcelona’s morning rush-hour traffic. Cool marble, an abundance of right angles and back-lit green panels gave the room a cool yet comforting ambience. Citrus-infused ice water and washcloths set on a side counter provided the perfect opportunity to freshen up while the front desk clerk processed my arrival. (29/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Getting to Nevis can be the most challenging part of the trip, either flying through Puerto Rico or St. Martin on Continental or Delta and then taking an island hop on the sometimes-unpredictable Winair. Once on the island, though, Nisbet Plantation is only a five-minute ride from the airport. The driver unloaded our bags and directed us to “just leave them there” while we checked in. We were greeted warmly at the office and offered a welcome drink as we filled out paperwork. Our rooms were a two-minute walk down the Avenue of Palms, a large lawn with palms leading from the Great House to the ocean. The receptionist escorting us pointed out our rooms’ amenities and told us the luggage would be delivered shortly — and it was. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived at the beautiful seaside area of Carlsbad, Calif., by car and began my search for the resort. I was a little confused by the entrance despite my GPS navigation directions, but did manage to make my way through the maze. The valet staff, very quick and helpful in taking my vehicle and bags, guided me to the front desk. Check-in went smoothly and with a smile, but I still had to get to my room. The resort is spread out, so guests may opt for golf cart transport to their rooms. I found this to be a nice touch, however was a tad put off at the wait after discovering that I could have walked the less than 100 yards. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: Our TAP flight from Porto brought us to Lisbon well before check-in time. The apologetic receptionist saw that our luggage was swiftly stowed and invited us to have a complimentary drink on the hotel’s top-floor terrace while our room prep was expedited. We had just time to enjoy a glass of wine and the view over the Tagus River before a bellman arrived to escort us to our room. His thorough tour included placement of all the light switches and the location of the complimentary umbrellas. He made his smiling exit before we could reach for euros. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: The sun was dazzlingly bright as we inched our way along the dirt road, lost in the expansive bush of the Madikwe Game Reserve. A jeep appeared and pulled alongside to ask if we needed directions. Philip, the driver and our game-drive guide-to-be, invited us to follow him to the gates at Mateya. We arrived minutes later at the antique Zanzibari elephant doors, where we were met with a warm smile, steaming towels and a cool drink. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: After an eight-hour drive, we arrived ready for dinner and a quiet evening. We were swiftly checked in while notes from Somewhere over the Rainbow drifted from a piano in the adjacent bar. I asked where we could go for dinner, and the woman at the desk suggested Americo’s and handed me a map. The porter took our keys and led us to our fifth-floor suite. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: After an all-night flight to Madrid and short hop to Málaga, I could be forgiven for not noticing where I finally dropped my head onto a pillow. But Villa Padierna is an attention-grabber, a pink palazzo (think Tuscan villa sired by Biarritz grand hotel) set on a brilliant green golf course. I was greeted by name and registered quickly. No one accompanied me to my room, but with one small rolling bag, I clearly didn’t need help. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: When our cab pulled up alongside what looked like a long, incongruously clean, white, city apartment block docked near the end of Barcelona’s extensive port, a porter greeted us, pulled our luggage out of the trunk and tagged it. Inside the terminal, registration took mere minutes and we were on our way to cruise along with 2,400 other passengers on a 12-day Western Mediterranean itinerary aboard the Norwegian Gem. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: From Abu Dhabi, I arranged for a car from The Fairmont Dubai to pick me up and drive me the 90 minutes to the hotel. The Fairmont’s Mercedes delivered me in style and check-in was swift and efficient. I was briefed on the Fairmont Gold privileges that came with my one-bedroom suite, and on the way up to my room I couldn’t help but notice the size and modern structure of the tower: The exterior design was based on an Arabian wind tunnel. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: This pineapple-plantation-turnedresort is a pleasant 45-minute ferry ride from the northwest coast of Maui, but could just as well be in a different universe given the shift from hustle-and-bustle to laissezfaire. By the time we docked, we were relaxed and ready to let the waiting Four Seasons shuttle driver handle our bags and deliver us to paradise. Check-in in the open-air lobby was swift. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived at the Ritz-Carlton under a hail of “Welcome Mr. Pettersens” fired off by a half-dozen people between the car and the front desk. It seems they were expecting me. I was exhausted, having just disembarked from a weeklong, physically demanding adventure cruise in Patagonia; and I was dazzled by the lavish lobby holiday decorations (always discombobulating for a Minnesota native when it’s 85 degrees outside). Formalities were brief, beverages were served and soon I was being introduced to the various amenities in my room. (30/30)
Arrival/Check-in: I took Amtrak from Trenton, N.J., to Union Station in Washington, D.C., and, remarkably, pulled into the station early. On my way to the hotel, I was able to view a little bit of Washington — always a pleasure. When I arrived, the bell staff offered help with my bags and directed me to the registration desk. Although the line to check in was a little longer than I would expect, at the desk a friendly clerk greeted me, apologized for the delay and checked me into my room swiftly and with a smile. She won me over and I quickly forgot about the wait. (27/30)
Arrival/Check-in: After about a 20-minute drive from the Denver airport to suburban Englewood, my limo pulled up in front of the portico of the long, low-slung Inverness. Friendly young bellmen carried my luggage as I entered the airy lobby, which has views to the lake and golf course beyond. After a pleasant greeting I was checked in with a minimum of fuss and rejoined by my bellman for the quick trip to my room. (28/30)
Arrival/Check-in: The fan logo on top of the Mandarin Oriental is easy to spot from the highway; harder to find on the surface streets. Finally, I made it; and valeted the car because I had no other choice. (Nearly $40 a day — ouch!) When I arrived, the lobby was buzzing with conference attendees so I was pleased and impressed that check-in was very quick and the front desk staff pert and alert. (17/20)
Arrival/Check-in: The Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome (shown above and below) is located in a former bank building on the Rue de la Paix, minutes from the Place Vendome, the Opera House and the chic shops on the Faubourg Saint-Honore. Unlike Paris’ formal grand dame luxury hotels, with their fin de siecle décor, the interior of Park Hyatt is warm, elegant and modern, with rich structural elements that include golden limestone and mahogany with gilt bronze accents plus an impressive collection of contemporary art.
Arrival/Check-in: I walked into the Pan Pacific and automatically looked up. I think that is a natural reaction for new arrivals, as the 35-story atrium is an awesome sight. The center is occupied by a newly renovated bar and lounge done in vibrant colors. The reception desk — as long as the atrium is large — is manned by staff in smart white suits. Check-in was prompt, personal and efficient. I was escorted directly up to my room on the Pacific Club floor in a bubble elevator so I could enjoy another view of the magnificent lobby as I ascended. A glass of fresh juice and a cold hand towel awaited me upstairs. (18/20)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived with a group of travelers late on a very rainy Mumbai evening. After passing security (something you must do whenever entering the hotel), we began the check-in process. Even at that late hour, the hotel’s two restaurants were bustling and there were a fair number of people milling around the lobby and entrance. Upon entering the hotel, I was immediately struck by its décor. High granite walls accentuated the stark modernity of the interior. Although I was not impressed by the friendliness of the staff, once check-in was settled we were all escorted to our rooms where the bellmen were waiting with our luggage. (17/20)
Arrival/Check-in: I could not miss the red sandstone exterior of the Sheraton Abu Dhabi on the Corniche. Nor could I miss the smiles that greeted me upon arrival, making me feel right at home. I was registered in a matter of moments and took myself to the room; the bags followed shortly after. (20/20)
Arrival/Check-In: Located next to one of Hue’s busiest streets, this jewel box of a building seems delightfully out of place. Its graceful lines and surrounding gardens, reminiscent of a private country estate, invite you to ignore the motorcycle-clogged traffic outside the gates and step inside where gentler times prevail.We were happy to do so. The manager greeted and escorted us immediately into the stylish Le Gouverneur Bar where we sank into comfy club chairs and drank our complimentary cool drinks while filling out our registration forms. Our designated bellman waited patiently until we were finished. (19/20)
Arrival/Check-in: It was one of those steamy hot days in New York City when I arrived at Penn Station. Finding a taxi was a challenge, I was already running late for my dinner meeting, and it looked like it was about to pour. I was about 12th in the taxi line when a pedicab driver asked if anyone wanted a ride. I spoke up: “Can you make it to 54th Street?” No problem, and off we went, weaving in and out of traffic. How those guys get around the city in the heat is beyond me. Twenty blocks later, we pulled up to The London NYC hotel and I hopped out of the pedicab, much to the amusement of the people outside the hotel and the bellhop. He offered assistance with my luggage, which was not needed as I was traveling light. In the beautifully designed (but not too spacious) lobby, the reservation desk stands just in front. My keys were ready for me and I was up in the elevators in no time. (18/20)
Arrival/Check-in: Sometimes you’re the attendee and sometimes you’re the spouse. This time I was the latter as my husband and I went to Atlanta for a conference. We arrived at the hotel by limo, courtesy of a conference sponsor, and took the elevator to the lobby level for check-in. Although we had requested a guestroom with one king bed, we were given a standard double. The front desk representative told us to check back later to ask for a room change, but he didn’t sound hopeful. We checked later — twice — and received a “no” both times. But third time’s the charm. Around dinnertime, Fay at the front desk found us a king. Thank you, Fay. (17/20)
Check-in/Arrival: I had shipped boxes of supplies to the hotel in the weeks prior to my arrival for a trade show, and the doormen happily took the 12 or so boxes out of storage and loaded my rental car for me. Check-in was a bit slow, but it went smoothly. (19/20)
Arrival/Check-in: Arriving on a Tuesday evening via EVA Airways, I encountered a slight traffic jam on my way to the heart of the city.Without traffic, the ride takes about 45 minutes. The hotel presents a formal feeling of business in an elegant atmosphere. The staff, in beautifully tailored Chinese attire, promptly checked me in and I was escorted to my room with the luggage following shortly after. (20/20)
Arrival/Check-in: If I had chosen to stay in the city center, the Flytoget airport express train could have transported me from Oslo Central Station to Gardermoen Airport in about 20 minutes, but why risk it? I had an early morning flight out of Oslo, so I opted instead to spend the night before my flight at the Radisson SAS Airport Hotel. I like Radisson SAS: Their hotels in Scandinavia are reliably consistent. This one was no exception. After a smooth check-in at the individual reception kiosks — there is no main front desk — my wheelie bag and I were on our way upstairs. (18/20)
Arrival/Check-in: When I arrived, I was met by the owner, Pat Azinger, who happily, personally showed me around his historic boutique hotel. The inn was established in 1891, and the original certification was framed and hung on the wall as proof. (20/20)
Arrival/Check-In: Finding the Chamberlain is a bit of a problem: It looks more like private apartment residence than a hotel. But that proves to be its strong suit as well. Nestled on a residential street between Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards in West Hollywood, the Chamberlain is close to everything, but offers tranquility unavailable in most Los Angeles hotels. (19/20)
Arrival/Check-In: I arrived in Hawaii during one of the worst rainy seasons that the islands had known. As luck had it, however, the sun broke through the clouds and Honolulu was sunny when I landed. The valet parking guys at the hotel jokingly told me to be careful of the “lake” (puddle) in the driveway caused by the storms. I told them to unpack my “long board” for a try! They had the “aloha spirit.”
Arrival/Check-in: One reason FedEx chose to base its headquarters in Memphis is the weather. Rarely does it cause closures at the airport. On the Saturday afternoon we pulled into the Memphis Marriott Downtown, however, the streets were empty and snowflakes were falling. The hotel is connected by a walkway to the convention center and near the Pyramid Arena — a 32-story glass and steel structure. Only two other guests were ahead of us as we stood in line to register. When the desk clerk realized our teenage son was traveling with us, she asked if we would like a roll-away bed. I said, “Yes.” After she handed me the room keys, she said the bed would be sent up to the room immediately. (20/20)
Arrival/Check-In: In the open-air, marble-tiled reception area overlooking the Indian Ocean, I sunk into a large cushioned couch to enjoy the view. A reception clerk brought me a glass of papaya juice and checked me in, explaining that my villa offered “one-touch service.” Al I had to do was lift the phone receiver, press 1 and ask for virtually anything I wanted: laundry, food, a driver, ice, fruit — anything. She then introduced me to a buggy driver who loaded my luggage onto the back of his electric cart. “He’ll take you wherever you want to go,” the clerk said, “even if it’s just from your room to the pool or the spa. Just press 1.” A promising beginning. (20/20)
Arrival/Check-In: The five-star Brufani Palace is arguably the top hotel in Italy’s Umbria region, perched on the “balcony” of Perugia, with cinematic views of the city’s medieval rooftops and the undulating countryside beyond. Perhaps because it was low season the desk staff didn’t have anything better to do, but when I arrived it appeared as if they’d been preparing for the moment all morning. Two people with a better command of English than I had at the time (it’d been a rough trip) attended to me, handing me paperwork, keys, a WiFi card and messages in a flurry of action before I was escorted to my room, where I was graciously left alone. (20/20)
Arrival/Check-in: I arrived in London on the Eurostar after a full day of meetings in Brussels, and I felt I had been on the run all day. So I thoroughly appreciated being escorted to the special Executive Floors check-in area where I had a cup of tea, a snack and a quiet moment while I was being checked-in. After a short wait I was shown to my room, a Park Lane Suite on the 14th floor. (20/20)
Decor/Ambience: All Palm restaurants are modeled after the original Palm on Second Avenue in New York. In West Hollywood, the standard decor is highlighted by caricatures of some of the restaurant’s best customers-many of whom are well-known celebrities. 18/20
Arrival/Check-In: Oh, so heavenly! That was the theme of my stay at the Westin Hotel Diplomat in Hollywood, Fla. Upon arrival, doormen were on hand to assist with my bags as I strolled through the palm-lined entrance to the hotel. The front desk staff was friendly. Check-in was efficient, and I was soon on my way to enjoy the view from my room on the 31st floor. 19/20
Love to laugh and travel? Join Just For Laughs in Cancún presented by Pollen Presents Nov. 3–7. This festival event brings together the relaxing accommodations of a 5-star resort and laugh-out-loud funny comedy sets for a long, unforgettable escape.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
A handful of historic towns in Texas Hill Country reinvented themselves as upscale food, wine and culture destinations. Fredericksburg is the shining star among them, transcending its historic German underpinnings to the point where it’s drawing a more cosmopolitan group of visitors, including many from outside Texas.
In an exclusive partnership, Lufthansa Group teams with Viking Cruises to offer the cruise line’s travelers direct, non-stop flights from the New York City area to Malta (MLA), beginning June 30. Flights will operate three times weekly on Lufthansa’s Airbus A350-900, departing from Newark Liberty International Airport.
Indianapolis International Airport officially opened its first-ever art gallery, The KIND Gallery, named after the airport’s international airport code. It is initially featuring artists from Harrison Center for the Arts.
As the vaccine rolls out and travel begins to pick up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Panama City with us.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Boca Raton Resort & Club recently announced a new partnership with Major Food Groups, creating one of the best culinary destinations in the United States. Major Food Groups is the company behind some of the hottest restaurants, including Carbone, The Grill and Parm. This partnership will launch multiple dining concepts as part of the resort's $150 million transformation.