The Conrad London St James is arguably Hilton's best property in London, but it's a property I had never visited until recently as I usually prefer to make the most of the fantastic weekend deals that are often on offer at the London Marriott Canary Wharf. On this occasion, Joanna and I were looking for a change of scenery and with the Conrad selling award nights at a very reasonable price, it was easy to decide to see what the property has to offer.
Marriott has announced a new offering which it's calling "Escape to Luxury" and in which guests can make the most of "singular experiences" at a variety of luxury properties in North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America which celebrate each unique destination and which can be paid for (in part or in full) by up to $300 in credits that the properties are offering.
Marriott has built a website that is designed to show travelers what services and amenities its properties are offering during the current crisis. The site isn't yet official and its contents are not yet complete, but with in-house offerings varying wildly from property to property (even for properties in the same town or city), this can still be an invaluable resource for anyone trying to decide what Marriott to book for their next trip.
Marriott has joined forces with high-end concierge company Quintessentially, to pull together a series of road trip options for travelers that may prefer to vacation closer to home or for those who would still like to travel but who would like to see more of the regions they're visiting. Each of the curated itineraries includes stays at some of Marriott's top properties in the US and Europe.
IHG and Marriott are the first major hotel chains to confirm that they're ending their flexible cancellation policies which have been available on all bookings since the beginning of the current crisis. At the time of writing, Hilton, Hyatt, and Radisson have not yet followed suit, but with their current policies expiring at the same time as the Marriott and IHG policies expire, there's scope for these three chains to go down the same path.
Details of the latest "Marriott Bonvoy Escapes" are now out and there are savings of up to 25% on offer for stays through 20 September at select locations within North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. If you in a position to travel and are happy to travel, these are deals that could be worth checking out.
Building on its offers for spending at various IHG properties (see here and here) and Hyatt properties too (see here) American Express has launched yet another hotel offer for targeted cardholders. This offer is for stays booked with Best Western and associated properties and can be used through the end of the year.
The next time you're searching IHG.com for accommodation in North America you may find that a number of properties you've been used to seeing in the past are no longer there. This isn't a glitch or a temporary system error, it's because IHG has just lost over 100 of it's North American properties to a considerably smaller operator.
If you have a reservation for a hotel that is supposed to be reopening in the weeks before you're due to arrive, I suggest you double-check the property's latest information online and make sure that all is still going according to plan. Based on my experience, some hotels are not very good at informing guests that their reservations can no longer be honored in a timely way.
As hotels continue to struggle to get their occupancy levels moving in the right direction, we're starting to see the more forward-thinking properties and chains adapting to the "new normal" by introducing plans and packages to suit the current environment. Hyatt's latest idea is to offer the "Work From Hyatt" package which aims to allow individuals, couples, and families to combine work and relaxation all in once place and away from the confines of home.