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 Do Not Disturb by Michael Matthews for 2008

michael October 15: OF SERVICE FAR BEYOND THE NORM
Besides the revelation that Michael Matthews has never seen the inside of a McDonald's, this week's column focuses on service that goes beyond the norm. And his inspiration (if not a Big Mac) comes from your reaction to two of his recent columns.

September 18: A POTPOURRI OF ASIA TRAVEL TIPS
After nearly five weeks of travel, visiting six Asian countries, flying five airlines and staying in a number of hotels, I've picked up a few tips and come away with some distinct impressions. Let me share some of my more salient airline, airport and hotel thoughts.

July 31: MY NEW BEST HOTEL IN THE WORLD
I found the true meaning of nirvana at what I will now call the greatest hostelry in the world. You'll have to wait until the end of the column for the hotel's name, but I will tell you that the property is in Hong Kong. See if you can guess the hotel's identity before the big reveal.

July 17: A TALE OF THE HOSPITAL, NOT THE HOTEL
This is a travel story, but it is not a column about a hotel. It's about a hospital and I think the story will open your eyes. I broke my arm and ended up in a Bangkok hospital that was better than many five-star hotels.

May 15: THE POWER OF THE THANK-YOU NOTE
You'd be surprised how a simple thank-you note to a hotel's general manager will improve your next stay. And I'm amazed at how some missed thank-you notes more than a decade ago are costing me on my upcoming trip to Asia.

April 17: MUSINGS ON $1,000-A-NIGHT HOTEL ROOMS
When I started in the hotel business in 1959, I was paid the munificent sum of three pounds a week, then about $10. The rates at the five-star hotel where I was working were less than $150 a night. Skip ahead to this fall, when the newly renovated The Mark hotel in New York will reopen with nightly rates starting at $1,000. Let's just hope all these thousand-a-night rooms are safe.

March 13: AN L.A. STORY: TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN
Why does a Hyatt hotel in Los Angeles charge as much as the Peninsula Beverly Hills? And how does it have the chutzpah to charge $100 an hour to sit at a bar. My conclusion: greed and avarice unlike anything I've seen in 50 years as a hotelier.

February 7: YOUR PETRODOLLARS AT WORK
I've worked it out. When you have so much money that you don't know what to do with it, just build a hotel. That's what is happening in the Middle East, where billions and billions of petrodollars are fueling a frenzy of hotel construction unlike anything the world has ever seen. On the drawing board: 6,000-room megaresorts, a property designed around three famous palaces, and the world's first "seven-star" hotel. It all gives new meaning to the term "stupid money."

January 10: THE HIGH COST OF GETTING SOUSED AT THE HOTEL BAR
All hotel bars are exorbitantly overpriced, none more so than those located in the "luxury" properties. I'm not exactly sure why they are more expensive than your local pub. Maybe it's the cost of the uniforms for the barmen or the ghastly harp player in the corner. Here's a look at what you pay to drink.

These columns originally appeared at joesentme.com.

Copyright 1993-2008 by Michael Matthews. All rights reserved.