Jump to content

Fancy Hotel Chains


DonRocks
 Share

Recommended Posts

In my opinion most Ritz Carltons are unbearably cheesy and should be avoided at all costs. Salamander is a beautiful property, and is of far higher quality than any R-C in the DC metro area.

I've never heard someone call a Ritz-Carlton cheesy before! But there *is* a somewhat formulaic hunting-horn, English, clubby atmosphere to many of them; that said, I got one in Phoenix for $99 once and had no regrets. Ritz-Carltons seem somewhere in between Hyatt and Four Seasons.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have told my boss we need to do an event in Cleveland because the Cleveland Ritz Carlton has an amazing government rate.

I did get to stay at the Four Seasons in St. Louis last year for a conference.  It was lovely, amazing and not at all expensive.  Mostly because the casino next door seems to be under-writing it.  I'd go back in an instant.  (Note that the dining was pretty lousy though...)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have told my boss we need to do an event in Cleveland because the Cleveland Ritz Carlton has an amazing government rate.  

The Ritz Cleveland has to be the cheapest Ritz in the US even on a non-government rate.  Depending on why you are in Cleveland, the location isn't great though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Ritz South Beach Miami is posh and has great facilities and amenities, imho. The ability to hop back and forth between the beach and the pool is a huge plus, particularly if you have a small child, as we do.

Pro Tip: Order virgin versions of their pool/beach-side drinks. Why? Because you never taste or feel the alcohol in their non-virgin drinks, and they'll cost you several dollars more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never heard someone call a Ritz-Carlton cheesy before! But there *is* a somewhat formulaic hunting-horn, English, clubby atmosphere to many of them; that said, I got one in Phoenix for $99 once and had no regrets. Ritz-Carltons seem somewhere in between Hyatt and Four Seasons.

With the exception of the Ritz on Park South in NY and the new Ritz Boston (and the old one, come to think of it), I stand by my statement. The Tysons ritz exemplifies what I find cheesy about the brand.

Now that I moved out of DC, when I come back I'm either at the Capella, Jefferson or St. Regis (due to SPG).

Since the Delicious mentioned Miami, I should note that we have had a great time at the Setai both with and without our kids - maybe something to consider for a future trip. Seems like finding a good kid-friendly hotel in Miami is kind of hard, without staying outside the action (FS or MO, or in Bal Harbour).

Since I travel constantly (>120 nights ytd) I could write a dissertation on the differences between "luxury" hotel chains and properties in each city - but I think Flyertalk beat me to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the exception of the Ritz on Park South in NY and the new Ritz Boston (and the old one, come to think of it), I stand by my statement. The Tysons ritz exemplifies what I find cheesy about the brand.

Since the Delicious mentioned Miami, I should note that we have had a great time at the Setai both with and without our kids - maybe something to consider for a future trip. Seems like finding a good kid-friendly hotel in Miami is kind of hard, without staying outside the action (FS or MO, or in Bal Harbour).

I've stayed in that Ritz in Key Biscayne - it's a resort; not a hotel. I've also stayed in the one in Cleveland - it's a hotel, not a resort. The difference between the two is night and day.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back in 2003, I stayed at the Ritz in Buckhead for work. We were able to take advantage of the federal government rate ($109 per night) even though I was a consultant. Some fun things about that Ritz.

If you put your shoes outside your door at night, they shined them for you free of charge.

Late at night in the bar, every 50 year old man was accompanied by a 20 something beautiful woman. It took me about 15 minutes to figure that one out.

One night while at the bar, my boss ordered a glass of port. When he got the bill, it cost $39. I laughed.

The Feds that we worked with stayed across the street at the Embassy Suites. It was the same price as the Ritz, so I never understood it. I asked one day why they stayed there and one of them told me that they have away free food at happy hour. He was psyched that it was nacho night. People never cease to amaze me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back in 2003, I stayed at the Ritz in Buckhead for work. We were able to take advantage of the federal government rate ($109 per night) even though I was a consultant. Some fun things about that Ritz.

The Feds that we worked with stayed across the street at the Embassy Suites. It was the same price as the Ritz, so I never understood it. I asked one day why they stayed there and one of them told me that they have away free food at happy hour. He was psyched that it was nacho night. People never cease to amaze me.

My guess is that the answer is simple - per diem. The Feds could have been eating at the Embassy Suites (ew) and pocketing the per diem. Used to see that relatively frequently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really prefer the Ritz south Beach to the Ritz Key Biscane, except the beach is so much nicer, out there.  Some are very ho-hum and some are cool, like the one in Philly.  I think there are some good ones.

I have the unfortunate habit of always having negative experiences at some really great hotels.  We go to Miami a lot, and there are a number of places on my nope list, Ritz SB is not one of them.  We stayed at the Fairmont in SF on our honeymoon and that was a nightmare, but I love the Huntington.  I don't sleep easily so I think I notice more things than other people do. I find that there are just particular hotels in particular cities that are better than others.  I am pretty keen on Park Hyatt's though.  Traveling with the dog we have had great experiences with Hotel Monacos.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FWIW, as someone who travelled on my own nickel for over 30 years, usually the "government rate" was not the cheapest at a better hotel.  Often a local company (i.e. Oracle in Reston) has a negotiated rate that is extremely competitive.  Ideally I would have been doing business with that local company.  I must add that it is simply amazing that I sold to such diverse businesses over the years....

Overseas I always asked for the Government rate.  Not once in hundreds of nights was I ever asked "which
government" I was with.  Of course I was once our cluster president for a few months...

My point is that in the early '80's I once waited in a line to checkout one morning at a hotel.  There were three or four people in front of me and every single one had a room rate lower than mine.  When I asked the desk about this they said that they were all on a special rate.  And, no I hadn't made my reservation using that rate.

That bothered me.

Since that morning I've found that there are very competitive rates often available.  The availability of that rate might have made the difference between my staying at a Marriott or a Hyatt or a Hilton if all were equally available.

Today there are hotels that will give significant discounts for prepaid rates some of which are refundable with sufficient notice.

One more note:  I sold a ride to Parc Asterix outside of Paris in '99 when the Euro was .87 to the US dollar.  I stayed at the Grand Intercontinental next to the Paris Opera for the equivalent of US $200 or so.  A number of times.  In the early '00's the Euro strengthened and, at some point that same hotel room could have cost me $350-400 or more a night with the exchange and a bit of inflation.  THIS IS AN IMPORTANT TIP FOR ANYONE READING THIS:  in any European city where there is an American embassy they will have a list of preferred hotels that accept the US Government per diem rate.  In Paris this is about E 135-150.  The hotel will typically be a three star (on a scale of 5) but it will usually be small (i.e. 35-50 rooms) with feather pillows, good sheets and a good mattress.  You won't find room service or a bar but you will find a central location and a really good rate.

I called American embassies in four or five European cities and stayed in hotels they recommended.  I would simply tell them that the American embassy had recommended them and they were happy to have me stay for the same rate.  For myself it might have been the difference between staying in the 7th or 8th ARR or staying by DeGaulle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT TIP FOR ANYONE READING THIS:  in any European city where there is an American embassy they will have a list of preferred hotels that accept the US Government per diem rate.  In Paris this is about E 135-150.  The hotel will typically be a three star (on a scale of 5) but it will usually be small (i.e. 35-50 rooms) with feather pillows, good sheets and a good mattress.  You won't find room service or a bar but you will find a central location and a really good rate.

RWBooneJr., are you going to reveal your New York secret?

Maybe it should be "by PM only" so it doesn't get ruined. I haven't tried it yet, but rest assured I'm going to. It's ... brilliant.

Simple, and brilliant.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...

My point is that in the early '80's I once waited in a line to checkout one morning at a hotel.  There were three or four people in front of me and every single one had a room rate lower than mine.  When I asked the desk about this they said that they were all on a special rate.  And, no I hadn't made my reservation using that rate.  

That bothered me. ...

I can't remember where I learned it, but always ask the clerk, "is this your best rate?"  Yes, this action requires a phone call instead of an online reservation, but Skype costs next to nothing, and you can save a bundle.  Apparently, they are required to tell you if there is something better, at least within the US or in US chains overseas, and odds are good you qualify, assuming there are any qualifying factors involved at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...