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 The Brancatelli File

joe MY FAVORITE HOTEL
COLUMN OF THE YEAR


BY JOE BRANCATELLI

June 24, 1999 -- Fifty weeks a year or so, you and I meet in this electronic space and chew over the big issues of the business-travel day. More often than not, we are forced to commiserate about the parlous state of life on the road.

But not this week. This is my favorite column of the year because this one is always good news.

This is the column where I tell you that hotels around the world have slashed their summer rates and mounted special promotions in an attempt to keep properties full in July and August, months when frequent travelers traditionally travel less frequently.

So here's the one guaranteed good-news column of the year. If you don't see your favorite hotel on this list, don't assume they don't have a good deal. Assume they do and, when you call for reservations, demand their best and most intriguing summer rate.

Enjoy the discounts, fellow travelers.

INTER-CONTINENTAL/CROWNE PLAZA Inter-Continental is now owned by Bass, the British brewers who carved the upscale Crowne Plaza brand carved out of the Holiday Inn chain. As a result, Crowne Plaza is sharing Inter-Conti's long-running Summer Options promotion. The plan offers business travelers up to 50 percent off standard room rates and a choice of one perk: a room upgrade; bonus frequent-flyer miles or Priority Club credits; breakfast; or a second room at half price. Rates at the 250 participating hotels start at about $90 a night and are valid until at least September 5.

KEMPINSKI The 25 Kempinski hotels in Europe and Asia have Summer Interlude rates that are bundled with late checkout, use of the health club, phone credits and discounts on car rentals and airport transfers. Prices start at $68 a night and most are valid through September 5.

LE MERIDIEN More than 100 Le Meridien hotels around the world offer the Le Passport promotion from July 1 to August 31. Rates are up to 50 percent off the normal rack rate and are inclusive of taxes. Prices range from $66 to $478 a night.

MANDARIN ORIENTAL Summer Choices rates at the 12 hotels in the Mandarin Oriental chain range from $49 to $319 and include breakfast, free use of the health club and late checkout. The promotion is valid through August 31.

RAFAEL Each of the eight super-deluxe outposts of the Rafael Group have customized offers marketed under the rubric of Summer With Rafael. Prices start at $180 a night at the Breidenbacher Hof in Düsseldorf and reach $1,205 for three nights at Elbow Beach in Bermuda. Validity dates and perks vary by properties, which include The Mark (New York), Turnberry Isle (north of Miami), Hotel Rafael (Munich), Schloss Buhlerhohe in Baden-Baden and Hotel du Rhone in Geneva.

RENAISSANCE Renaissance Rendezvous rates at the 38 Renaissance properties in North and South America range from $79 to $199 a night and are valid until September 6. Prices include breakfast and are available Thursday to Sunday at most properties and seven days a week at others.

RESIDENCE INN The 300 U.S. outposts of Marriott's all-suite/extended-stay Residence Inn brand have posted summer rates as low as $90 a night. Breakfast is included in the prices.

RITZ-CARLTON The 36 hotels and resorts in the Ritz-Carlton chain have a Visa card promotion until September 6. Use the card to pay for your room and you're eligible for rates that range from $87 to $375 a night.

SHANGRI-LA Until August 31, the three dozen Shangri-La and Traders hotels in Asia are offering coupons valid for a $50 food and beverage credit; double or triple frequent-flyer miles; or daily breakfast. Where do you get the coupons? Go to the Shangri-La Web site and print them out.

SHERATON SureSaver rates available at 150 Sheraton hotels in North America are available from July 1 through September 6. Prices start at $49 a night; reservations must be booked by August 30. Some hotels require a 14-day advance reservation for weekend stays.

SPRING HILL Marriott renamed its low-end Fairfield Suites last fall, so it is offering First Summer rates starting at $49 a night through September 30. The three dozen U.S. properties in the chain offer free breakfast and free local calls.

SOFITEL Fifty-eight Sofitel hotels in the United States and Europe offer Summer Sale rates in one of five categories: $130, $150, $170, $220 or $250 a night. Prices include breakfast and are valid through August 31.

SWISSOTEL Nineteen hotels in the Swissotel chain have customized deals until mid-September. On example: the $113-a-night Diamondland Package at the Swissotel Brussels. It includes accommodations, museum passes, breakfast and use of the health club.

TOWNEPLACE SUITES Marriott's other all-suite/extended stay brand has expanded to 37 properties around the country and offers the Red, White & Zoo package through September 6. Prices start at $75 a night and include accommodations in a two-bedroom suite, free local calls and zoo passes in 27 cities.

WESTIN The 100 Westin hotels and resorts around the world have posted Good Buy Getaway rates until September 6. Prices range from $53 to $537 a night. A 14-day advance booking is required.

This column originally appeared at biztravel.com.

Copyright © 1993-2004 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.