December 2009

For nearly 150 years, the Liberty Hotel was known as the Charles Street Jail, and housed some of Boston's most notorious criminals.

For nearly 150 years, the Liberty Hotel was known as the Charles Street Jail, and housed some of Boston's most notorious criminals.

Everyone knows Boston is a city with a rich history, but visitors might not realize that to experience its colorful past, they often don’t have to leave their hotel. If you want to spend the night in a former jail that housed Boston’s most notorious criminals, for example, or dine at the restaurant where JFK proposed to Jackie — and where Malcolm X once worked as a busboy – check out our list of Boston hotels with fascinating histories.

Read More »

{ 1 comment }

Hotel design, American style

by admin on December 31, 2009

"Libertarian Playfulness" at Ace Hotel New York

"Libertarian Playfulness" at Ace Hotel New York

We happened to notice “U.S.A. All the Way,” an interesting essay about American design that appeared a couple weeks ago in a New York Times’s T Magazine style supplement.  The author, Walter Kirn, gives a generous nod to the Portland, Ore., based Ace hotel minichain, praising its practice of “renovating buildings in cities like Seattle, New York and Palm Springs, Calif., in a manner that preserves their local color while updating them with hipster eclecticism, all while keeping the room rates reasonable.  It’s a peculiarly American strategy, combining our fondness for respecting tradition with our libertarian playfulness and our utilitarian good sense.”

We agree.  The company’s New York City outpost made our Best Value, Hidden Gems, and Best Rooms roundups.  Opened this year in a renovated 1904 SRO building and set among fragrance emporiums and knock-off watch shops in off-the-beaten-path Murray Hill, the hotel has been hyped for its cool design, big-name chefs, and quirky rooms.  Still, the hotel pledges to price their basic rooms under $200 a night, which is cheap in the Big Apple.

We thought it’d be worth adding a few other properties that generally take the approach Kirn describes.

Read More »

{ 1 comment }

Lobby of the Four Seasons Boston, which is currently offering a third night free promotion

Lobby of the Four Seasons Boston, which is currently offering a third night free promotional deal

Suddenly it seems hotels everywhere are offering the same promotion: Buy two nights and get a third one free. Though some bargain hunters might scoff at the offer as nothing more than the deal-du-jour, we say a deal’s a deal — and any deal that cuts your daily room rate by 33% is nothing to sneeze at. Especially if it means getting one night free at super luxe properties such as these, and potentially saving more than $800 (as you could at the St. Regis New York)!

Here are some of our favorite hotels that are currently running a 3-for-2 promotion:

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

studio-suite-city-view-the-setai-v134307-576

The Studio Suite, the standard room type, at the Setai in South Beach, Miami

At just under $800 for the average night, a guest room at the Setai is about the most expensive hotel room in South Beach. What do you get for this extraordinary splurge? Mood-lit style; an extraordinary restaurant; a beachfront location; large suites — all this you can find elsewhere, and for a lot less cash.  Largely, you’re paying for a slight but not impossible chance of spotting Giselle lounging by the pool. For most people — anyone without an uncommonly thriving multinational corporation, a blockbuster film, or a royal family — spending this kind of cash for a hotel room is out of the question.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Times Square, New York City

Times Square, New York City

Believe it or not, it’s not too late to snag a hotel room in New York City for the night of December 31. Rooms overlooking the ball drop in Times Square may be gone, but the hotels listed below still have rooms available and will get you pretty darn close to the action. Read More »

{ 0 comments }

The San Francisco Ferry Building

The San Francisco Ferry Building

Going out to Angel Island or Alcatraz for the day? Planning an all-day walk-around of Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero? Pick up a picnic in the gourmet wonderland that is the Ferry Building. Here’s how: Read More »

{ 1 comment }

The Pierre Hotel

The Pierre Hotel

New York City is ever-changing, with new spots opening up so often that it’s easy to get dizzy just keeping up with it. Here’s the latest scoop on the Upper East Side: a trio of recently opened eateries worth stopping by if you’re staying in one of the many hotels in the neighborhood. Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Punta Cana Hotel

Um? So this is where pregnant chicks like to stand?

First we did creative toilet paper. (Actually, hotels did it. We just took pictures.) Then came clever do-not-disturb signs. Now we present — with inspiration from, and apologies to, one of our favorite travel-related websites, Engrish.com — a few of the silly/baffling/grammatically deficient signs we’ve encountered at hotels we’ve covered.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Pool at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

Main pool at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort And Spa, one of Hawaii's kid-friendliest resorts

If you’ve got school-age children, right now you’re likely bracing for a week of no school, no scheduled activities, and the kind of cold, wet weather that keeps kids indoors and bouncing off the walls. You’ll get through it, of course, but odds are the experience will leave you dreaming about a better — and warmer – way to spend the next school holiday. (That’s right — Spring Break is just about 90 days away.) To help with the planning, we pulled together this list of some of our favorite family- and kid-friendly resorts.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Our top 10 new hotels of 2009

by Michael W. on December 28, 2009

W South Beach, one of our top 10 hotels that opened in 2009

W South Beach, one of our top 10 hotels that opened in 2009

It’s the end of the year. That means different things for different people. For some, egg nog. For others — not many others, one assumes — fruit cake. There are a few things, though, that apply to almost everyone: holidays, family, overeating, unmet resolutions (often related to family or overeating), and, of course, year-end top-10 lists. They’re ubiquitous. The top 10 movies of 2009. Top 10 books. Top 10 songs and albums. Time even published a “Top 10 Everything of 2009,” with 50 different lists.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }