Thanksgiving is generally a quiet time for luxury hotels as business travelers head home for the long weekend. However, many hotels have come up with a new service to keep their staff working – offering take-out Thanksgiving dinners with all the trimmings.
The Fairmont Washington D.C. is offering a turkey dinner for 10 with all the fixings for $275 – much cheaper than dining out, yet eaten in the comforts of your own home without the hassle in the kitchen. Locals can order the Turkey-to-Go package in advance, consisting of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and a choice of pie for dessert. Hungry customers then drive up to the hotel collection point and the steaming boxes are loaded into the car by hotel staff.
Other Fairmont hotels in major cities are offering similar deals while the Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner offers something a little different. Their Thanksgiving meal for six at $279 includes a roasted beet salad with goat’s cheese and candied pecans, butternut squash soup and a seasonable casserole of vegetables to accompany the traditional turkey.
Spokesperson Diane Bulger from the Fairmont Washington comments, “It’s a nice way for the people who live in the community to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving in their homes without the stress of preparing everything themselves.”
So if you haven’t pre-ordered your Thanksgiving turkey yet, maybe a luxury hotel in your local area has the perfect answer.
Affinia boutique hotels in New York, Washington and Chicago have just launched a new program for Affinia VIPs. Their new Tender Loving Comfort (TLC) program is based on offering deep customer service based on learning what guests need by reading their body language. Staff at Affinia recently underwent training with a body language expert to learn how to respond to certain body language cues.
Part of the new TLC program is offering a Comfort Hour when hotel managers mingle with guests while offering sample snacks, testing new products such as pillows and getting feedback from guests on what makes them comfortable at a particular hotel.
Affinia guests now get a truly customized experience with a six-choice pillow menu and a signature Affinia bed with down comforter and triple sheeting. Each room also has a welcome drink and an Experience Kit to help guests gain maximum benefit from their stay.
Special offers for Affinia TLC VIPs from now until December 31, 2011 include a VIP room upgrade when available, welcome cupcake, complimentary bottle of red wine and late checkout, subject to availability.
Washington DC welcomes spring each year with its National Cherry Blossom Festival which commences on March 26. The city is beautifully dressed by nature with thousands of Japanese cherry trees laden with delicate pink blossom. Some of the first trees were a gift of friendship from the mayor of Tokyo to Washington back in 1912 and the planting program has continued since.
With a huge choice of luxury hotels in Washington to choose from, it is worth asking about perks for the Cherry Blossom Festival if you plant to visit. We’re not talking a small discount or free valet parking; some Washington hotels are being far more innovative. Cherry pie, anyone? Those staying at The W not only get great views from their room of the White House and National Mall but also get to enjoy complimentary cherry pie for two on the rooftop at the J&G Steakhouse at W.
Liaison Capital Hill is offering guests two $10 metro passes, artisan chocolates and a live cherry branch laden with blossom to take home as a memento, if the blossom lasts that long! The Mayflower Renaissance has a cherry-themed menu throughout the festival and will host the annual Pink Tie Party. The Fairmont is a pleasant cherry-blossom stroll from Georgetown and guests will receive a box of beautiful cherry blossom notecards from photographer Jake McGuire to take home, along with a memory stick full of blossom photos of their own, of course!
For those who can’t stay overnight in the capital, why not splurge on a Cherry Blossom Tea at the Willard InterContinental’s blossom-bedecked Peacock Alley? Afternoon tea is accompanied by the music of a koto, a traditional Japanese stringed instrument and the player will be authentically dressed in a kimono to add to the atmosphere. The Cherry Blossom Festival lasts until April 10, although the blossom may linger on beyond that date.
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
I wrote recently about how movie backdrops can do wonders for tourism – think The Third Man (Vienna), Don’t Look Now (Venice) and any number of Woody Allen films (New York).
Now, Washington DC is looking for a boost in visitor numbers with the release of the Night At The Museum sequel. This one has the subtitle Battle of The Smithsonian and it’s set in that prestigious museum and research centre, based primarily in DC.
Like its predecessor from three years ago – that one was set in New York’s Museum of Natural History - the action of the film follows night guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) whose job is hampered by the exhibits coming to life after dark.
And there are many exhibits to keep an eye on at the Smithsonian, with more than 136 million items in its collections. These include the Lockheed Vega plane belonging to aviator Amelia Earhart (played in the film by Amy Adams). You might also catch Teddy Roosevelt, Al Capone, Custer, Ivan The Terrible and Attila The Hun.
There’s general agreement in Washington that the release of the movie is good news for the city. “Often times we hear that parents have a civic duty to bring their families to D.C. for a vacation,” said Victoria Isley of the tourism bureau Destination DC. “But we believe Night at the Museum 2 will really help kids inspire visits themselves.”
by Andy Moreton
If you’re keen to visit the Smithsonian and everything else DC has to offer, take a look at the Luxique selection of luxury hotels in Washington DC, including the Four Seasons in Georgetown.