Published on February 7th, 2013 | by Mark Chesnut
Concierge Class: Club-level Hotel Rooms that Pile on the Perks
BY MARK CHESNUT
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM LATINBUSINESSTRAVELER.COM
Whether they’re called concierge floors, club suites, the executive level or something even more creative, club-level rooms are often the first choice for travelers looking for extra business amenities or added luxury on the road. And while many extras are considered standard for this class of service – private check-in and checkout, free newspapers and lounge access with drink or snack offerings – the specifics vary, depending on the chain and each individual hotel property.
Extra amenities, lounge access and other perks are among the reasons that travelers book club-level hotel rooms. Well-traveled members of loyalty programs like Starwood Preferred Guest and Marriott Rewards may get free upgrades, while others have to pay for them. To help you decide if it’s worth the move upward, here’s a sample of what some properties offer.
Upgraded Sheraton Club Lounges
One of the most recent system-wide upgrades in the Latin America region comes from Starwood Hotels and Resorts. Along with its hotel owners, the company has invested more than $100 million in upgrading 120 Sheraton Club Lounges around the world, including flagship properties like the Sheraton Buenos Aires. Sheraton Club Lounges are now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and Starwood Preferred Guest members have automatic access to Sheraton Club. Free breakfast, afternoon hors d’oeuvres, beverage service and free Wi-Fi are among the perks. Located on the top six floors of the Buenos Aires property, Sheraton Club rooms also include free office supplies and free health club access.
At Gran Meliá properties – including the Gran Meliá Puerto Rico Golf Resort and Gran Meliá Caracas – the top class in accommodations is called The RedLevel, which is positioned as something of a “boutique hotel within a hotel.” The Puerto Rico property’s RedLevel includes the service of personal butlers throughout the day and access to the RedLevel Lounge, a media lounge with computer terminals. Guests also get daily continental breakfast, evening cocktails with hors d’oeuvres and preferential reservations for dining, the hotel spa, golf and tennis. Guests also get exclusive use of the adults-only RedLevel pool, which has Bali day beds, pool concierge and bar service.
Pool access is also a selling point at the InterContinental Miramar Panama in Panama City, where the Executive Club lounge sits next to a rooftop swimming pool with stunning views of the city and Panama Bay. The Executive Club lounge serves free breakfast, a generous array of evening hors d’oeuvres and free drinks. Guest rooms also have three two-line phones. At the InterContinental Tamanaco Caracas, some Executive Club guest rooms have living rooms equipped with a printer and fax machine, and all Executive Club rooms have free Wi-Fi.
Pisco and Wine
Local flavor is among the attractions of the Executive Lounge at the JW Marriott Hotel Lima, which hosts free pisco and wine tastings every evening from 5:00 to 6:30. Also included is a hot buffet breakfast, mid-day snack, afternoon tea, hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages, light dinner and Wi-Fi. Executive guest rooms include free in-room Internet access as well, plus free pressing of two garments per stay.
Enhanced In-Room Amenities
In-room amenities are a step above standard at the Swissotel Quito, where Swiss Executive rooms are furnished with 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets, a PDA/MP3 docking station and office supplies. Also included is admission to the Executive Lounge, which serves a breakfast buffet, light lunch buffet, afternoon tea, light dinner buffet and open bar from 8:00 pm to 10:30 pm nightly.
Extra Space for Working
Travelers looking for extra workspace as well as free-time diversions should consider the Grand Hyatt Santiago, where Grand Club accommodations include the use of a private, three-story atrium lounge on the 16th floor. Office facilities include fax and photocopy machines, while board games and a billiard table provide leisurely distractions while enjoying the free breakfast, all-day tea and coffee service and evening cocktails.