The Brancatelli File



June 15, 2000 -- The Summer Solstice is just around the columnist's proverbial corner and that means just one thing for business travelers: home.

Although statistics are squishy and proof largely anecdotal, it is generally agreed that frequent flyers travel less frequently on business during the summer than just about any other time of the year.

So, with my exquisite columnist's timing, let me tell you about some great hotel deals available this summer.

Now understand this: It's not my fault that hotels cut rates and offer special packages and promotions just when you get to stay home. The plain fact of the matter is that when you stay home, hotels get nervous and start trying to figure out how to get leisure travelers to fill the rooms you're not filling. Hence all these deals offering upgrades and rate concessions and free breakfast and weekend blowouts.

I present the following as a public service. When you do travel this summer, look for these promotions. After all, they're out there and we might as well take advantage of them. In fact, ask for a summer promotional rate even if you don't see your favorite hotel listed here. They probably have a deal, too.

One other thing: There is no assurance that these rates are the lowest prices or best values available during the summer. Some other rate or promotion--a local deal, a last-minute price break--may fit your needs better. Make sure to ask, then ask again, before you book.

COURTYARD Breakfast Lovers Special weekend rates are available in the United States. Prices include buffet breakfast for up to two adults and two children and are available Fridays and Saturdays at all participating properties. Thursday and Sunday stays are available at selected hotels. Sample rates: $64 in Milwaukee; $69 in Denver and $112 in Annapolis. Valid through September 10.

EMBASSY SUITES Family Fun Pak weekend rates start at $79 and include perks such as in-room movies and pizza as well as admission to local zoos and theme parks. Prices are valid Fridays through Sundays. Samples: $185 in San Juan; $109 in Des Moines; $89 in Little Rock; and $169 in Toronto. Valid through October 3.

FAIRMONT Welcome Summer rates are available at Fairmont and Canadian Pacific hotels in North America. Samples: $195 in Boston; $175 in Dallas; and $119 in Kansas City. Valid until September 4.

FOUR SEASONS The incredibly complicated City Pleasures promotion offers guests a $100 or $200 discount certificate. The coupons can be applied to your total bill for any stay before December 31. To qualify, you must: present an AT&T calling card or obtain a reference number from AT&T (800-440-5536); stay two nights at a published rate; and pay with an American Express card. Valid through September 4.

HYATT Hyatt Touch Weekend rates start at $75 for most U.S. and 4 Canadian properties. Rates include $25 dining certificate. Samples: $89 in Richmond; $109 in Austin; and $139 in Minneapolis. Valid until September 4.

INTER-CONTINENTAL Summer Options rates at Inter-Continental and Crowne Plaza hotels include one of the following: breakfast for two; room upgrade; second room at half price; or bonus airline miles or Priority Club points. Sample prices: $134 at the Inter-Continental Montreal; $236 at the De La Ville Inter-Continental in Rome; and $99 at the Crowne Plaza Las Vegas. Valid until September 3 in Europe and September 15 elsewhere.

LE MERIDIEN Le Passport knocks up to 50 percent off standard rates at Le Meridien and Forte properties. Samples: $120 at the Apollo in Amsterdam; $366 at the Hotel Eden in Rome; and $149 at Le Meridien Dallas. Valid July 1 to August 31.

MANDARIN ORIENTAL Summer Choices rates are as low as $79. Prices include breakfast and 6 p.m. checkout. Samples: $179 in Bangkok; $231 in Hong Kong and $129 in Manila. Valid until August 31.

MARRIOTT Fill in the Blanks rates start at $69 at Marriott and Renaissance properties in the United States and Canada. Prices valid Thursday through Sunday at hotels and 7 days a week at resorts. Rates include local amenities such as museum tickets and theme park passes. Samples: $149 at the Marriott Savannah Riverfront; $169 at The Madison in Washington and $109 at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta. Valid through September 10.

OMNI Phenomenal Fridays weekend rates are as low as $69 with a Friday stay. Prices include a 5 p.m. checkout. Samples: $111 in Los Angeles; $96 in Detroit; and $165 at the Ambassador East in Chicago. Valid until September 4.

RITZ CARLTON Summer Promotion rate are up to 55 percent off and there are separate weekday and weekend prices. Payment must be made with an American Express card. Samples: $139 weekdays in Palm Beach; $210 weekdays or weekends in Seoul; and $159 weekdays in St. Louis. Valid until September 4.

SHANGRI-LA The Value Vouchers program at selected Shangri-La and Traders hotels in Asia is available to guests who stay at corporate rates. The vouchers entitle travelers to one of the following benefits: room upgrade; $50 food and beverage credit; or double miles with one of the hotel chain's 24 frequent-flyer program partners. Vouchers are available through August 31.

SOFITEL Summer Sale rates are divided into six price categories--from $130 to $270--in 117 cities worldwide. Rates include breakfast. Samples: $130 in Philadelphia and Madrid; $150 in Lisbon; and $270 at Le Faubourg in Paris. Valid through August 31.

STARWOOD Preferred Getaway rates start at $49 at Sheraton, Westin and Four Points properties in the United States and Canada. Prices include a 4 p.m. checkout time, but require a 14-day advance reservation. Payment must be made with an American Express card. Samples: $69 at the Sheraton El Conquistador in Tucson; and $89 at the Westin Grand in Washington. Reservations must be booked by August 27 for travel until September 10.

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