According to the Miami New Times, luxury hotel breakfast buffets are being seriously affected by the economic downturn. Locals are apparently posing as guests and helping themselves to free hot breakfasts, muffins, bagels, fruit and whatever else may be on offer. Hotel General Managers in luxury hotels in Miami are reporting that the problem is worse in hotels where the buffet is on the first floor, or visible from street level.
Many luxury hotels have a two-tier system; free breakfast for those with room keys and a charge of anything from $12-30 for non-residents. In practise, these hotels rarely ask guests to show their room key. They simply ask for their room number before seating them, for fear of causing barely-conscious guests a bad start to their day. However, this is allowing brazen free-loaders the chance to enjoy a tasty breakfast for free on a regular basis.
Some on-the-ball restaurant managers in boutique hotels know all their guests on sight. However, many city hotels in Miami have a stream of one-night guests who are catching flights. Adam Zembruski, spokesperson for Pharos Hospitality was quoted as saying, “When I was GM, I was very hands on and knew most, if not all of my guests personally. More importantly, they knew me. So, I was out there at breakfast every day – and knew the regulars (so) the ‘outsiders’ stuck out like a sore thumb.” While some hotel managers involve the police, others either give the offender the bill or remove them as quietly as possible.
by Gillian at Luxique
How would you feel if you returned to your hotel room and found a 14K gold pendant necklace featuring a half carat of brilliant round-cut diamonds under your pillow? This is what the Ritz-Carlton has in store for 10 lucky guests staying at the luxury hotel in Miami Key Biscayne Resort as part of their 10th anniversary celebrations in July.
Realizing that many other guests may also like to enjoy the fun, this Five Diamond Resort has planned some other neat deals too. Throughout the month of July there will be ten resort-view guest rooms for just $10 on selected nights. The small print stipulates that reservations for this deal can only be made on June 10 between 10 and 2pm EST by calling 305-365-4582, so better set the alarm on your PDA now.
Every Wednesday through July at this luxury resort there will be a selection of $10 spa treatments including the Key Lime Body Treatment (50 minutes) or the renowned Deluxe Sundae Pedicure (45 minutes). There will also be the chance to purchase $10 mango candles – that’s half-price.
If you’re around on July 14, glasses of Moet Chandon Ice Imperial Champagne, made exclusively for upscale resorts, will be just $10, as will the accompanying Kobe Beef Sliders.
Those who enjoy champagne by the bottle should take the opportunity to dine at the resort between July 10-15 and 17-22. As well as the chance to enjoy three-course meals for $10 at the in-house restaurant Cioppino, one menu will hold a voucher for a complimentary bottle of champagne.
Not forgetting those ten diamond necklaces beneath the pillows of ten lucky overnight guests. Better start making your travel plans for July right now!
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
Not content with an airline, music and entertainment, mobile phones and a hundred and one other interests, the Virgin Group’s billionaire owner, Sir Richard Branson, is moving into the luxury hotel market.
He’s currently seeking properties in the United States in order to launch a contemporary four-star chain under the Virgin brand. He’s initially looking at New York City, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington DC, although there are plans to expand globally in the long-term.
The group aims to acquire the management contract or ownership of $500 million (£316 million) worth of 150-400 bedroom properties in ‘appealing neighbourhoods’ over the next three years. The luxury hotels will be aimed at what the company terms ‘high income, well educated, metropolitan, creative class customers’.
Sir Richard said (modestly): “I’ve had great fun turning quite a lot of different industries on their heads and making sure those industries would never be the same because Virgin took them on.”
The entrepreneur has already dipped his toe into the waters of the luxury travel business with Virgin Limited Edition, a collection of exclusive vacation retreats around the world. They include Necker, a small island in the British Virgin [!] Islands owned by Sir Richard and available to hire for up to 26 guests.
by Andy Moreton
South Beach, known colloquially as SOBE, is like nowhere else and is also home to some of the most unique luxury hotels in Miami. Trend-setting, affluent and vibrant, it has a distinct up-market Latino flavor. White sand and azure ocean beneath a cloudless sunny sky, the eclectic mix of pastel Art Deco hotels along Ocean Drive, beautiful people strolling arm in arm in the latest fashions, this is what South Beach is all about. It is an escape from reality, at least for the time you are there! Once the home of drug barons and Mafioso, it is now an idyllic retreat for the rich and famous, as well as the migratory flock of snowbirds who return year in, year out.
Along with the palm-fringed beachfront, South Beach offers fabulous designer shopping from Lincoln Road to name-dropping Collins Avenue. Armani, Kenneth Cole, Benetton, Sephora, Ralph Lauren, Diesel….they can all be found here on these narrow streets. After dark, restaurants, bars and nightclubs buzz with music and you pay more for valet parking than most people would pay for cocktails, but hey, there is only one South Beach! See and be seen is the name of the game. After dining out in style at one of the many Michelin starred restaurants such as the lovely Casa Tua, or Palme d’Or, walk though romantic Lummus Park beneath the stars and then retire to your chosen luxury hotel in Miami for a nightcap in the bar.
Once again there are too many wonderful luxury hotels in Miami to list, even on the short stretch of Ocean Drive. If you are looking for Art Deco inspiration consider the newly renovated Hotel Victor, right next door to Casa Casuarina, better known as the Versace Mansion. This delightful boutique hotel has retained some of its finest Art Deco features in the extensive lobby and bar. Right on the beach is the Raleigh, which has retained all its 1920s charm including the uniquely shaped swimming pool. With designer shops at the front, and the boardwalk and beach to the rear, everything is conveniently close by. Rather more hip and trendy but one block back from the beach is the Shore Club Miami, a true celebrity hang-out. Designer-cool rooms by British designer David Copperfield, and managed by Ian Schrager, creator of the boutique hotel genre, this contemporary style hotel is a far cry from the 1930s in which it was built. The Casa Grande is quite the opposite.This refined luxury hotel in Miami invites guests to truly relax and feel at home. Last but certainly not least, checkout the Pelican; owned by Diesel it is a temple to OTT décor and zany fashion. Wherever you choose to stay you are unlikely to be spending long within its four walls.
by Luxique Luxury Hotels
The experience of travel is all about experiencing something new and different. Vacation destinations should be memorable, and so should the hotel, for all the right reasons of course. Luxury hotels can be found in castles and forts as well as on boats. There are themed hotels all over the world based on art, pop music, Marilyn Monroe, the Wild West or whatever else you might dream of. If all this has aroused your curiosity, here are three themed hotels to get you started:
Ice Hotel in Sweden
The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi in Sweden has to be the coolest hotel on the planet! Created from slabs of ice, this magical palace-cum-igloo is built fresh every year. It includes ice chandeliers lit with fiber optics, an ice bar and evenice beds piled high with reindeer hides and high-tech sleeping bags. This Land of the Midnight Sun location also offers unlimited snow sports including cross-country skiing, dog sleds and snowmobiles as well as helicopter tours to Lapland and if you’re really lucky, the spectacular aurora borealis. Voted the ‘Best Experience in Sweden’ the Ice Hotel continues to draw an eclectic crowd every year from royalty and celebrities to hardy honeymoon couples.
Aria Hotel in Prague
Located in Prague, a city renowned for its classical music, the Aria Hotel is conveniently located between the State Opera House and Rudolfinum, the home of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. Follow the Gregorian chants set in the mosaic footpath, which leads from the wrought iron gate right into reception. Every floor of this luxury hotel in Prague is dedicated to a different category of music, from contemporary and classic to opera and jazz. Delightfully furnished guest rooms are predictably named after a composer or musician, but that’s not all. The rooms are a shrine to individual artists with original artwork, biographies, books and even an iPod loaded with their music so that you can totally immerse yourself in your chosen favorite. You get round-the-clock Mozart, Elvis or even Billie Holliday, so choose your room with care! The Aria Hotel even has its own Director of Music to advice and enhance your musical vacation.
Pelican Hotel in Miami
For those who want more from a luxury hotel in Miami’s South Beach than Art Deco features, the Diesel-owned Pelican offers a choice of wacky rooms. The only condition is that you must like neon, and lots of it. Themed rooms range from the garish to the glitzy, based on such themes as Best Whorehouse, Cubarean Islands and Psychedelic Girl. The Pelican Café, spilling out onto the terrace and sidewalk, is considered THE place to be seen having breakfast.