DO NOT DISTURB FOR 2009|
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MICHAEL MATTHEWS
Michael Matthews has managed and marketed fine hotels around the world for 50 years. He spent 14 years based in Hong Kong building the Regent International group and has also worked with St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton and Rosewood hotels. He began his career in 1959 at the then newly opened Carlton Tower Hotel in London, the first five-star hotel in more than 50 years to be built in the city. He was most recently general manager of the Ventana Inn in Big Sur, California. Matthews is based in Arizona and began writing Do Not Disturb in early 2004.
October 22: HOTEL RATINGS, WITH SOME SURPRISES
Did you know that J.D. Power also rates hotels? Probably not. The ratings company announced its 2009 findings recently and interesting they were. In fact, its results may lead you to a better, and certainly cheaper, stay on your next hotel sojourn. And you'll be surprised to learn which chains offer the best value for money.
September 24: CATCH A FALLING (HOTEL) STAR
You have surely read about the decimation of the nation's hotel industry following last year's financial meltdown. The worst-hit lodging segment has been the five-star level in general and five-star resorts in particular. Many are mulling the psychic and financial cost of reducing the quality of their service and their facilities and allowing their rating to slip to the four-star level. I think that is stupid.
September 3: SAVING THE WORLD WITH SQUIGGLES
As a hotel man, I should be ashamed that my industry does so little to save the planet. But then you, as our hotel guests, do little about it, either. You deserve to carry some of the hotel industry's blame. The question is how do hotels and guests work together to be more environmentally sound?
July 8: THE OLD(ER) MAN AND THE SEA
Sailing as a crew member on a 2,600-mile run from Hawaii to California is not nearly as comfortable as sitting in those narrow, non-reclining rear seats by the toilets on Southwest Airlines. I know, I just did it. I survived, but I promise never to complain about Southwest Airlines again.
May 21: THE TSA AND THE OPIUM PIPE IN MY BAG
For more than five years, this column has been all about all things hotels. But this is about opium and the Transportation Security Administration. Ah, that got your attention, didn't it? This time, my tale of finding a jade opium pipe in Laos and getting it past security at LAX.
March 25: HARD TIMES AT THE HOTEL SPLENDID
If I were a general manager again, these hard hotel times would have repercussions. I'd be harassed by my owner, who is seeing his shirt being removed. And I'd be besieged by worried staffers inquiring about my plans for the hotel's survival. The answer is obvious: cut, cut, cut. The trick, though, is to cut without the guest really being aware of what they are losing. I'll tell you where to find the cuts.
February 12: WHY NOT TRY A FIVE-STAR HOTEL INSTEAD?
Maybe your company has mandated that you downgrade your accommodations while you're on the road. Maybe, they're saying, you should stop staying in good hotels and start checking into places where they keep the light on for you. But instead of blindly following company orders and trading down, why not treat yourself instead? Try a stay at a five-star hotel instead. These days, it won't cost all that much more than staying in places that boast about the color of their roof.
January 15: GOOD NEWS FOR 2009: LOWER HOTEL RATES
There is a bright spot on the hotel front. Not for investors or management companies, but for those of us who put our heads in strange beds on the road. Hotel rates are crashing in line with the rest of the economy. Wherever you're going you'll find that you can buy your hotel bed for 30 percent or even 50 percent less than you paid a year ago.
These columns originally appeared at joesentme.com.
Copyright © 1993-2009 by Michael Matthews. All rights reserved.
ABOUT MICHAEL MATTHEWS Michael Matthews has managed and marketed fine hotels around the world for more than 45 years. He spent 14 years in Hong Kong building the legendary Regent International group. He has also worked with St. Regis, Ritz-Carlton and Rosewood hotels. Matthews is currently based in Arizona. He began writing Do Not Disturb in early 2004.
THE FINE PRINT Joe Brancatelli makes this space available to Michael Matthews in the spirit of free speech and to encourage editorial diversity and the wider discussion of important travel issues. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property of Matthews. This column may not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Michael Matthews.
This column is Copyright © 2009 by Michael Matthews. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2009 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.