by Peter J. Bates

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Top Two Hotels of 2009

Realistically, I probably spend half the year in hotel rooms around the world. Last year, I must’ve stayed in more than 60 different hotels – many of which were spectacular – but two in particular stood out for me. As my choice for the top hotels in 2009, I would select The Upper House in Hong Kong and the Crosby Street Hotel in New York City.

Both properties are owned by companies that have heavily invested in service. Yes, the hotels are contemporary, graciously appointed and uber-stylish but what impressed me most is the obvious investment in staff training to ensure that the customer comes first. If there aren’t satisfied customers, then a hotel doesn’t survive because empty beds don’t translate into profits. The importance of customer service – whether someone is traveling for business or pleasure – should never be underestimated, especially in today’s economy where travelers will scrutinize the value of their luxury travel experience like never before.

Location, location, location – these hotels excel in this area. The Crosby Street Hotel has an amazing location in the colorful SoHo neighborhood of New York City, near great shopping, galleries and restaurants. On the other side of the world, the views from The Upper House are spectacular. Spacious windows afford breathtaking vistas of the Hong Kong skyline and Victoria Harbour.

Last but not least, in terms of design The Upper House and Crosby Street Hotel are cutting-edge but not overly trendy. They have retained their modern and distinctive character, which I found extremely appealing.

My travel schedule for 2010 will likely keep me in as many hotels around the globe as last year – some new, some renovated and many treasured gems that serve as my ‘home away from home.’ I’ve already got 65 hotels on my schedule for this year! I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you on the hotels and travel experiences I discover as I explore the world. I also welcome your feedback.

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