by Peter J. Bates

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Road Warrior’s Dream – Beds, Business Centers and the Internet

Being in the global hospitality and tourism business means I travel a lot – approximately two weeks every month! I consider myself a road warrior because of all the time I spend away from home – most of my travel brings me to Asia and India, although I also find myself traveling around the U.S. and Europe.

Through my 30-plus years in the luxury travel and hotel industry, I’ve been fortunate enough to develop contacts with general managers and marketing executive who help make my hotel stays as seamless as possible, and for that I’m most appreciative. By virtue of being outside the comfort of my home so frequently, you can imagine how much importance I impress upon the hotel I stay at.

First, that hotel must be conveniently located to the reason why I’m in a particular city – such as a convention center or for meetings.

Second, in-room amenities make a tremendous difference. Thank you, Barry Sternlicht, for the landmark ‘Heavenly Bed’ concept – this was a simple and ingenious idea that really resonated with business and leisure travelers, and still does to this day. A cozy bed to rest in at night is a delightful dream.

Other things that are important to me in a hotel room include:

* Having a user-friendly sound system to which I can easily plug in my iPod as music is how I best relax on the road (and I bet I’m not the only one)
* A good size bathroom and a shower with a strong spray so that I can feel refreshed and revitalized after a long flight or busy day of meetings
* Free Wi-Fi – I don’t know why this isn’t free in all luxury hotel rooms. It’s really more of a necessity than a privilege.
* Well-lit desk with numerous conveniently placed outlets
* Efficient housekeeping and all-around superior service standards

What about the rest of a hotel? The two most crucial things to me are a good business center (where I can print out documents as well as seek technical assistance), and a dynamic concierge, who really proves themselves as an unrivaled guide to a destination.

In the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of staying in numerous hotels that have succeeded on all the fronts most important to me including the new Ritz Carlton Pudong (Shanghai), The Oberoi New Delhi, The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, Shangri-La in Tokyo, and the St. Regis in Aspen.

With the amount of traveling I do, the first thing I ask when I enter a hotel room is how to connect to the Internet. Since 90 percent of my travel is international, being able to connect with my family by e-mail and Skype is essential. And, the best part about traveling so much for business is being able to come home as frequently as I can!

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