I was glad to share information about some of my favorite hotels in an . After all, when hotels get it right, they deserve to be recognized. But I knew that there were many more great hotels out there that I had never had the pleasure of visiting. Of course, you wonderful readers came through, and I received many, many e-mails telling me all about other fabulous places to stay around the world. Here are a few of your favorites.
The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco. I think anyone who has had the pleasure of staying at a Ritz-Carlton property would put it at the top of their favorites list. But a reader named Richard had an amazing experience at San Francisco's Ritz on his honeymoon. He let the hotel know in advance that it was a special trip, and with a little planning, the staff there made the occasion even more memorable.
"When we checked in, to our amazement the room was playing our wedding song, there was a picture of the two of us in a beautiful frame, and the pastry chef had made a miniature wedding cake for our arrival," he writes. Savvy Richard not only made his bride very happy, he also reiterated two important travel rules for us. First: Do not look for a bargain or travel cheaply when celebrating a special occasion. You pay for Ritz-style service, you get Ritz-style service. Second: Call ahead to let hotel staff know about special occasions, as the hotel might surprise you with treats or upgrades.
Jamaica Inn. Another reader, Jeff, has been in the travel industry for many years, so he should know his stuff. He recommends the Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. To Jeff, this property "epitomizes the old-style Caribbean lifestyle," and it has had the same owners and many staff members for decades. To me, that's a clear indication that someone is doing something right. Plus, it's on the beach! In the Caribbean! What's not to love about that?
41. I nominate Ken for my "Smartest Reader" award. Why? He totally agrees with me that are outstanding. He chooses 41 as his favorite Red Carnation property. It's in a great location in London — just across the street from Buckingham Palace, and just down the road from Victoria Station. Plus, the décor is beautiful. And Ken notes that it's "absolutely the best service I've ever received in a hotel."
Omni William Penn Hotel. Susan loves this Pittsburgh property for many reasons. The lobby is grand and is a great spot for people-watching (one of my favorite things to do when I'm traveling), the prices are very reasonable, and the staff takes care of issues quickly and courteously. A story she shares shows how the staff here truly treat guests like family members. It seems Susan was a little under the weather, and room service served up some plain toast and ginger ale rapidly and free of charge. Little touches like this make loyal guests out of readers like Susan.
Grand Hyatt Singapore and Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit, Bangkok. Another reader named Ken also gets nominated for the "Smartest Reader" award. What does this Ken do that's so clever? He chooses accommodations based on their food offerings, which to me is a very important standard. Ken is especially keen on breakfast buffets, and he says the Sheraton's is the best breakfast buffet he's ever had. (They have five kinds of mustard to go with the sliced Virginia ham, he says, adding, "Now that's attention to detail.") The Hyatt's buffet is second on Ken's list. Ken also likes the Hyatt's fitness center — a must if you overindulge in the breakfast buffet, right? Besides the food, Ken appreciates the lovely rooms, outstanding service and reasonable prices at both hotels.
And now, for readers' favorite bargains: Food-lovin' Ken also recommends the Residence Inn Beverly Hills (there's a great diner across the street). Bob enjoys the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Detroit. Sherry likes the Hampton Inn and Suites just off Beale Street in Memphis. And Kathleen chooses the Holiday Inn Express in Astoria, Oregon. What's so great about all of these properties? It's the simple formula of great price plus clean and spacious accommodations, along with nice amenities and friendly staff.
I hope hotels start paying attention to what makes us all happy. I think many of us like the same things. We want to stay in a convenient and beautiful and safe location. We want super-attentive staff who are welcoming and who never miss a chance to "wow" us. We enjoy touches of real luxury in our lives, but we don't think we should have to pay top dollar for a decent place to stay. And Ken and I (and many others) want to eat some really good chow when we're on the road.
Let's all keep recommending and patronizing those great hotels who manage to get it right!
Amy Bradley-Hole has worked in the hotel industry for many years in many different positions and at all types of properties — from small luxury boutique hotels to large resorts, both in the United States and abroad. or on Tripso.com!