Articles in Checking In

Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa, Palm Springs, California – Hotel Review

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It was love at first sight and the most unexpected encounter I’ve ever had at a hotel. Sally, a Chihuahua mix, was living large in the reception area of the Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort and Spa, looking for a guest to adopt as part of the hotel’s pet adoption program.
Sally let me take her for a walk around the property’s beautiful grounds and it was clear that we enjoyed …

Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown – Hotel Review

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In my first ever visit to Brooklyn, I found myself in the borough’s downtown area. Devoid of skyscrapers, at least by New York City standards, the Boerum Hill neighborhood is a short 15-minute subway ride from midtown Manhattan.
The Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown is a convenient pied-à-terre for anyone wishing to be in close proximity to New York City’s financial district (it’s just a couple of subway stops away) while providing …

Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, Ojai, California – Hotel Review


It was like being swept up in a tornado in Kansas and finding oneself in the land of nice. That’s how I felt from the minute I arrived at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa. But let me first define “nice”: I don’t mean merely pleasant, I mean genuine, sincere, and caring. While I’ve found that many hotels and resorts have staff who are unfailingly polite, in too many cases …

Short Stay: Watergate Hotel, Washington, D.C. – Review

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Washington, D.C. is a city steeped in political history, and perhaps no other building in the district is as notorious as the Watergate Hotel, made infamous during the 1970s scandal that led to President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation.
The hotel is part of the larger Watergate Complex, which includes apartments and office space, the latter being the site of the actual break-in (although the perpetrators did stay in the Watergate Hotel).
However, …

Marriott Announces Strategy for Marriott Rewards and SPG Guest Loyalty Programs

Lobby of the Bristol, Warsaw - a Starwood Luxury Collection Property

With Starwood Hotels and Resorts now part of Marriott International, members of both hoteliers’ guest loyalty programs have been wondering what will happen to their respective programs and – perhaps as importantly – to their points.
On Friday, Marriott said it plans to continue to operate both programs – Starwood Preferred Guest, or SPG, and Marriott Rewards – for at least the next two years before it eventually phases out SPG. …

Short Stay: Le Méridien Étoile, Paris – Hotel Review

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Paris-born Le Méridien is perhaps one of my favorite hotel brands, mostly because it’s quite clear what the brand stands for, namely cuisine, the arts, and local culture. In many respects, this alone is why people should consider staying at one of its properties.
Starwood acquired Le Méridien in 2005 and has continued to build up the portfolio of Le Méridien properties, from 40 at the time of the acquisition to …

Short Stay: Conrad New York – Hotel Review

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I hadn’t been to New York City for over a year and a half, (my last visit was for the world’s tallest Holiday Inn) but there I was again in the city’s Financial District on the last night of my visit, checking into the Conrad New York, which we last reviewed a few months after it opened in 2012.
This was my first time at the property (Dan Collins reviewed it …