This past year I set a goal-visit 25 countries. To date, my travels have taken me to such exciting places as Tasmania and the Antarctic. I’ve ridden the Orient Express from Venice to London, and e-chatted with friends back home from an Internet café in India. Throughout it all, the one thing I’ve found most beneficial is my Starwood Platinum Card. As a platinum veteran of four years, I am still amazed at the benefits of the card. We spend so much time battling for airline upgrades, many of us forget that we actually spend more time in our hotel rooms than in the air.
The Starwood program features more than 700 unique hotels worldwide divided among six individual brands-Westin, Sheraton, Four Points, St. Regis, Luxury Collection and W Hotels. Twenty-five stays or 50 nights per calendar year is the requirement for earning platinum status. That gets you a late checkout at 4 p.m., but the key benefit is the spaceavailable upgrade to a suite. In many cases, the hotels book the upgrade prior to your arrival. That little perk has allowed me the pleasure of experiencing some truly glorious suites in hotels around the world, including the Westin Excelsior in Rome, Sheraton Imperial in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Hotel Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, Austria, and San Cristobal Tower in Santiago, Chile.
Still, I was happily surprised when I arrived in Sydney, Australia, for the Rugby World Finals. I had redeemed Starwood points to book a four-night stay at the Four Points Sheraton Darling Harbour (formerly the Nikko Hotel). Booking online took less than two minutes and required a relatively low point value for such a grand hotel. I knew the city was completely booked for the rugby finals, so I assumed I’d be assigned the standard twin room I had reserved. Much to my surprise, I was upgraded to a beautiful suite with a terrace overlooking bustling Darling Harbour. Most airlines would never consider offering an upgrade on reward travel.
Although I enjoy flying first- or business-class much as anyone, my stays in first-class accommodations have been highlights of the destinations I’ve visited. Starwood has consistently extended this benefit to me, regardless of the hotel rate I’ve booked. In addition, many Starwood properties I’ve visited have made an effort to have much-appreciated welcome amenities
waiting for platinum members on arrival.
Membership in the Starwood Preferred Guest program is free. For information, visit www.spg.com.
I’ll check in with you next time after my winter ski trip to Davos, Switzerland. Until then, happy trails.
Princess Premier, a new add-on recently launched by Princess Cruises, offers cruise-goers unlimited WiFi, premium/top-shelf beverages, photos and more. The new offer builds off the popular Princess Plus add-on to bring guests a more comprehensive bundle and savings of more than 50 percent when all the amenities are purchased separately.
Recently, NoMo SoHo and its ownership, real estate and investment firm Sapir Corp Ltd., launched a curated NFT program, making NoMo SoHO the first hotel in the United States to offer guests an innovative way to book stays using blockchain technology.
From Aug. 9 to 17, Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, will vibrate to the sound of the world’s favorite Elvis Presley tunes as Elvis Week 2022 gets underway. This year’s event will be a fun-filled mashup of tributes, concerts, special events and celebrity appearances, including actress Barbara Eden, who starred with Elvis in the 1960 film Flaming Star and became a household name for her lead role in the long-running television series I Dream of Jeannie.
There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*
What happens when three of the six French nationals residing in San Antonio get together? If they happen to be from a long line of proud French gourmands from three different regions of the country, they take what they know and make it something proudly Texan, while still adhering to their separate and collective culinary roots. That’s exactly what happened as a result of those three — Executive Chef Laurent Réa of Strasbourg, Philippe Placé of Chartres, and Jérôme Sérot of Lyon — meeting 20 years ago.
With a network of more than 450 independent luxury advisors, Travel Edge, the North American leader in luxury travel, released a report on its findings for travel trends in 2022. No doubt the pandemic can be blamed as the main culprit behind many of these changing trends in travel, with travelers attempting to regain moments lost over the last two years.
Whether you prefer a villa on the beach or an ultra-luxe suite downtown, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Los Cabos.
Nobu Barbuda is underway in the Caribbean, the newest installation to the Nobu Hospitality portfolio. The Nobu restaurant, all conceived by actor Robert DeNiro, debuted in 2021, and Nobu Barbuda’s first beach club opened this year.