Oh, Leading Hotels of the World, WHY?

If you’ve been following my Leading Hotels of the World 19.28 room promotion obsession, surely it won’t come as a surprise to you that I have something to say about their new do-over.  That’s right – while your Miss Expatria slept, LHW posted their new rules, and they make her want to crawl back into bed.

Let’s take a look at the changes after the jump, shall we?
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Quick Update: Leading Hotels of the World

So, today was the day.  The glorious, shining day when Ted Teng, CEO of Leading Hotels of the World, was to unveil the new plan for the do-over of their failed 19.28 promotion.  Per the website,

We will be posting further details on the actual sale this Friday, October 17 after 4 pm GMT (12 noon Eastern Daylight Time). Please check back here at that time. Thank you!

Two hours later?  NOTHING.

Now, granted, it does say “after 4 pm.”  And, this is after 4 pm.  But really, how much longer do I have to wait??  I’m trying to plan the next two months of jet-setting and country-hopping, and this delay is really putting a kink in my moving forward with said plans. I can’t figure out where I’m going to watch the elections, whether or not I’ll be able to see my friend Matt in Florence the week before Thanksgiving, or if I’ll be able to style gay husband Marco for his 40th birthday in Rome!

Come ON, Leading Hotels of the World!  YOU’RE KILLING ME. The fate of my autumn traveling season is in your hands.

Leading Hotels of the World Still Full of Fail, Poor Things

I feel especially bad for the people in extremely inconvenient time zones today, as they awake to the news that they can go right back to sleep – the Leading Hotels of the World promotion, which was supposed to have an email-based “do-over” today at noon GMT after their servers crashed yesterday under the strain of 150,000 people clicking (and clicking and clicking), sent out an email overnight stating that it is postponed until further notice.


They are very nice and very apologetic in this little “Dear John” letter, and the lady who wrote back to me yesterday was also very nice and very apologetic, and even wrote back to my reply to her!  I just think it’s funny that they didn’t think they’d get the response they did, when all they had to do was look at their Alexa ranking on the days immediately following their VERY promoted promotion for an indication.

So, I figured I’d give them a break and simply post my preferences here for the hotels I’d like to stay in for $19.28 a night (I’ll be staying for the max two nights, thanks, cheers).

Hotel Raphael, Paris. We can get there easily, and their smallest room is over half the size of my entire apartment. Also, truffle omelet delivered by room service? YES PLEASE.

Gran Hotel La Florida, Barcelona. Another hop, skip and a jump for us. And did you see that VIEW? They’ll have to drag me out of there kicking and screaming.

Bauer Il Palazzo, Venice. This was a tough call, because all the Venice hotels on the list are fantastic. But this one wins because, when else would I be able to sit in a hot tub overlooking the rooftops of my favorite city on earth?

Oh, any dates are fine, thanks. We’ve got no particular schedule.

So, tell me, gentle readers – what are your top picks from the Leading Hotels of the World list?

Leading Hotels of the World: FULL OF FAIL


Next week I’m going to be all bloggy and update ALL THE TIME, but for right now I am coming out of a self-imposed Internet exile (due to writing work deadlines) to liveblog a bunch of FAIL.

So, the Leading Hotels of the World is having their 80th anniversary this year.  To celebrate, they are offering a select group of their hotels’ rooms for $19.28 a night.  Nice, right?  You KNOW I signed up for that, baby.

The thing is, the promotion is for 80 minutes starting at noon GMT today. I set an alarm on my slick 30Boxes Internet calendar for noon my time, just to be sure I got in, and dutifully signed on.

Sorry! Due to the overwhelming number of consumers currently trying to access this promotion, your request is being delayed momentarily. Please be patient, don’t get discouraged, and retry in a few seconds by clicking here, or by going back to http://www.lhw.com/1928.

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Wow, Huntley Santa Monica, You Messed Up.

I don’t believe I need to express further on this blog how much I love hotels. Some might call me a hotel snob, but really, I’m not. I disdain hostels and a one-star is out of the question, but my only true requirement is that the room is clean and well-maintained. Give me that, and I’m perfectly content.

I’ve rarely had a room that has disappointed me. Sure, my room in Negril was made of bare cinder blocks; I was 35 feet from the Caribbean sea, I wore my bathing suit to dinner and people brought me rum punch 14 hours a day. The room was fine. [I was going to link to the hotel as evidence, but it looks like they’ve completely renovated it – so for your enjoyment, here it is! And, I highly recommend all-inclusive resorts while in the Caribbean; but that is a post for another time, and I digress.]

Right, then, my point – and I do have one – is most likely unfounded, but strongly held nonetheless: The Huntley Santa Monica Beach messed up.

Now, don’t get all excited; I haven’t secretly flown to the States for a sneak peek. My opinion is based solely on their site, which I linked to above, and this totally awesome review by film critic Leah Rozen. Why is that review awesome, you ask? Because it is an evenly written slap across the face. LOVE IT. And love her!

So, let’s take a look at the hotel from Miss Expatria’s point of view, based solely on Ms. Rozen’s review and the hotel’s website:

1. The Huntley is located across the street from the beach. But 62 white fish on a white wall and a rattan-inspired end table do not a beach feeling make. Especially since they are in stark contrast to the 1970s Lake Tahoe theme of the rest of the lobby. I come in off a day on the beach and find this? No, thanks.

2. I enjoy a nice television as much as the next girl. But did you really stick it like a hot dog on a large black pole in the middle of my room?

3. You boast a view of the Pacific, and then give me windows better suited for a motel off the Turnpike? As Ms. Rozen herself points out, the sea was “glimpsed only from the bed or by standing directly alongside the window.” For shame.

4. The bathroom: “Comparable in size and layout to a narrow galley kitchen in a cramped Manhattan apartment. There was no bathtub but instead a capacious glass-enclosed shower. A broken towel rack hadn’t been fixed and, during the evening turn-down service, housekeeping failed to replace used towels.” Ouch. When a room starts at over $400 per night, I would expect it to be at least as well maintained as my crappy apartment.

5. Why the candles at the bar? First off, the ceiling is going to be black within six months. Secondly, the wax will leak and make the bottles stick to their shelves. And finally, the bar looks like an operating room – 15 candles aren’t going to add nearly enough warmth. And I caught your cheeky scallop shells in pressed tin – again, not enough to let me know I’m 100 yards from the beach.

From Ms. Rozen’s review, it seems that the entire hotel merely serves as a backdrop for yet another swanky bar frequented by the glittering masses. Remember when hotels were for the guests?

If you’re into travel as much as I am, you don’t like using travel agents and you never buy travel insurance. Personally, I like to travel by train, and my most trusted travel advisor is myself!

My Favorite Hotels

I love eating cold sandwiches wrapped in tin foil. It is such a sense memory thing.

I am thinking of great hotel rooms in my time, in no order:

Helmsley Middletown, NYC. My old company booked me in a room when they made me come to NY and I got upgraded to a suite, with a living room and everything. And there was my favorite Indian restaurant downstairs that delivered. I felt like a rock star, or a presidential candidate. I made my best friend Katie come and stay over and it was so glamorous.

Kansas City Radisson. I wish I could find a link, because it was a big, old hotel, but it looks like it doesn’t exist anymore. Three of the moms went in on a connecting suite of rooms that had a living room in the middle. They wanted some semblance of orderly life for us. We would all eat cereal and watch Gidget every morning on the living room’s TV, which I remember being enormous in some kind of cabinet. It was the last of the great old hotels in the grand style. My dad came to visit us and he met someone in the elevator there who he fished with on our beach in OC. This is a common occurrence among the men in my family.

Bellevue Stratford, Philly. We were originally booked at the Drake but it was dark and gloomy and my mom knew people would be coming to visit us since we were so close to home. The room at the Bellevue had an automatic shoe shiner and I remember it looking like Versailles, I remember the ceilings being so high. We used to order room service and it would come up covered in those silver domes and with china and silver and linen. The next city was Boston and the hotel was kind of a dive, and when we ordered room service it came from the diner and was in Styrofoam containers. My mom and I would look at each other and sigh.

La Casa Sul Mare, Procida. All white stucco and light and space, with private terrace overlooking the bay and with a view of the fishing village and Capri beyond. Breakfast:

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That’s taken by ME, that is our ACTUAL BREAKFAST EXPERIENCE.

Hotel Britannique, Paris. I stayed there for one glorious night before being stuck at the Ibis hotel at the airport for a week trying to get a flight home on standby during the end of the Tour de France, the beginning of August vacation, and BA going on strike. Oh and it was the hottest summer ever. Anyway, the Hotel Britannique has deep marble tubs and winsome balconies. Lovely.

Hotel Niza, San Sebastian. I was taken up to my room and they opened the shutters and there was the most glorious view of the Bay of Biscay. I spent an entire afternoon laying on the bed looking out at the bay. This was also during my most glamorous, jet setting travel stint ever, featuring a drive to Biarritz just for lunch and a flight to London just for dinner and underwear shopping.

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Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel, Barcelona. A pillow menu, a bathroom bigger than my mothers kitchen, a view of the cruise ships coming in from the sea, top shelf luxury all the way.

Hotel West End, Nice. See that corner window, on the upper left? The one at the very top? Yeah. Mine. For a whole weekend. Got a great deal on that suite, and it was SWEET. Views to die for. Room service every day. Worth every centime.