If your kids could plan a vacation for you where would they send you?
Albany, NY? To a hotel that has a bathroom. And a diving board?
JetBlue asked kids where their family should go on vacation. The video they made is adorable!
Just sharing some tidbits about hotels I’ve stayed at recently – and hope to return to.
In New York City, I was a guest at Marriott’s Courtyard New York Manhattan/Central Park – which turned out to be in the theater district and around the corner from the Ed Sullivan Theater, where The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is filmed.
The location could not have been better and my cozy room, with a work desk, complimentary WiFi, city view, coffee maker and crisp white linens was an ideal for base for a one night stay.
I didn’t have time to check out the fitness center, but did spend some time at Nosh!, the living room-style 4th-floor restaurant and bar open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the sort of place where you can get a coffee and just hang out to work or read. After my stay, I learned that this is the go-to hotel for good friends when they go to New York City to see plays or concerts.
In Portland, Oregon I’ve been a guest recently at some of the darling and diverse Provenance Hotels, including the Sentinel, where my room looked just like this, including the terrace and fire pit.
Among the great amenities – a giant fitness room and, on my floor, this ‘secret’ lounge with a snack bar, TV, sofas and cool (fake) wall of books.
In Paris with one extra night to spend in the city, I was a guest at the 37-room charming Grand Pigalle Hotel, in the 9th arrondissement, in the hip South Pigalle, or SoPi, neighborhood.
The first floor has a cozy wine bar and Italian restaurant where breakfast is also served. Rooms – all different and designed by noted French interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon – have metallic wallpaper, brass lamps and handles, and tiled bathrooms with deep tubs. Some have terraces too.
My only regret from my stay: I was too busy making sure not to stumble on the circular stairs to snap a photo of the martini glass-themed carpeting.
Few hotels actually issue guests real door keys anymore and opt instead for electronic key cards, with magnetic strips on the back.
The face of the key cards often have only the name of the hotel, if that, but some hotels get quite creative with the tiny bit of real estate that guests carry around and look at multiple times during a stay.
Here are two cards I received at hotels in Portland, Oregon that morphed from keys to souvenirs in a snap.
The one on the left was issued to me at the Hotel Lucia, which has photos by Pulitzer prize-winning photographer and Oregon native David Hume Kennerly in the rooms, the hallways and public areas.
The key card on the right is from the Hotel deLuxe, which has a Golden Age of Hollywood cinema theme.
Both hotels are part of the Provenance Hotels group.
In working on a story for NBCNEWS.com about hotel booking sites trying to stand out by offering a twist – including Winston Club, which plans to match people up to share top hotel rooms – I discovered a good resource for travelers who find themselves stuck at the airport.
HotelsbyDay.com is a site that helps travelers find good rates for short stays at hotels during the day.
These aren’t the, ahem, one-hour or less kind of stays. The service offers stays of at least four hours in three-, four- and five-star hotels, enabling a traveler to rest and refresh before or after a long flight, get some work done in a quiet and comfortable space between meetings or, perhaps, for a family to have a “daycation” at a hotel with a pool, waterpark and spa.
The site has a search option for airport hotels and on that list you’ll find the Miami International Airport Hotel (located inside the terminal) – offered during my search for $55 for a four hour stay between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – and the post-security Minute Suites – DFW, offered at $100 for a four hour block between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., $110 between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and $120 between 3 a.m. and 7 p.m.
I called to check and compare walk-in rates as was told there is not a posted rate at the DFW Minute Suites for a 4 hour stay, but that, with taxes, a 3.5 hour stay would cost about $134 and a 5 hour stay, $148. So the HotelsbyDay rate does indeed offer some savings.
One of my long-running freelance projects is the At the Airport column for USA TODAY.
Here’s a list of the columns that ran during 2015. If you’ve got a suggestion for a topic I should cover in 2016, please drop me a note.
January 2015: Quirky airport carpets serve double duty
February 2015: Aerotropolis: are airport cities the wave of the future?
March 2015: Lactation stations ease grind for nursing moms
April 2015: These airports make arriving a pleasure
May 2015: California airports deal with drought
August 2015: Should airports snuff out smoking rooms?
September 2015: Ride-hailing services make inroads at airports
October 2015: Airport amenities to make gate-huggers happy
November 2015: At airport hotels, silence is golden
December 2015: Best new airport amenities in 2015