Booking a Luxury Hotel Room
Is your fave posh hotel full for summer? Try these new inns
Room service, get me a room! It hasn't quite come to that, but with record-high occupancy rates predicted for summer, vacationers need to get busy and book. The luxury hotels below are a good bet, but even they're filling up.
The James Chicago, opening this month, is a luxury/boutique hybrid. Suite-size rooms (the smallest is a generous 375 square feet) sport oversize couches and giant plasma-screen TVs. Service promises to be over the top, too, with two concierges and twice-daily maid service. It is a rare, pet-friendly luxury property and will, upon request, provide a pet bed, food and water bowls, a litter box, even a "pet in residence" door hanger, lest the maid startle Fido--or vice versa. Rates start at $250 (jameshotels.com; 877-526-3755).
Acqualina in Sunny Isles, Fla.(a short drive north of Miami), is a 51-story Mediterranean-inspired high-rise also opening this month, and it exudes blingitude at every turn. Beds are decked in Rivolta Carmignani sheets and goose-down duvets, and the marble bathrooms are stocked with Lady Primrose amenities. Though many creature comforts are for grown-ups (they do, after all, pay the bills), younger guests are not out of luck. The "Fun in the Tub" amenity kit has a rubber ducky and bubble bath, and "turn down" service includes chocolate milk and warm chocolate chip cookies. There are toys for older guests as well: free hand-held GPS navigation devices with directions to local attractions. Rooms start at $425 (acqualinaresort.com; 888-767-3966).
The 260-room St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco has all the touches you'd expect from an upscale hotel: custom-designed room furniture, including a 5-foot-long chaise longue, and laser-cut art made from Australian lacewood, plus deep soaking tubs and stunning city views. But how many hotel rooms also come with their own butler, who can help with everything from unpacking to dry cleaning? One butler even helped arrange a private tour of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Not that you need to go far to see expensive paintings: With $3.5 million worth of artwork on the walls, the St. Regis, which opened in November, offers a docent-led tour of the property. Rooms start at $399 (starwoodhotels.com/stregis; 800-598-1863).
At the Regent Shanghai, which opened in November, guests are offered spa treatments as a welcome gift, including a back and shoulder massage. Little about this distinctive, 53-floor hotel is understated, particularly the centerpiece of its Shanghai V restaurant, Bohemian crystal lighting from the Czech Republic that looks like a dancing dragon. Rooms start at $150 a night (regenthotels.com; 800-545-4000).
It isn't unusual to see a yacht pull up to the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort's private jetty--or for a chopper with a VIP guest to land on its private helipad. Monaco's first new resort in 75 years combines high-class with high-tech. Regional ceramicists decorated the rooms, using colors inspired by the villages of the south of France--shades of white, beige, and ocean blue. But the guest rooms, loaded with tech toys, including in-room video-conferencing facilities, are equally part of the global village. Along the edges of the sand-bottom pool, guests sip the signature blue gin martinis, a mix of vodka, cognac, and passion fruit (montecarloresort.com; 800-595-0898).
Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.