DO NOT DISTURB FOR 2013

WHAT 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 the general manager of the Ventana Inn in Big Sur, California. Matthews is based in Arizona and began writing Do Not Disturb in early 2004.

November 21: YOU ARE WHAT THE MENU SAYS YOU EAT
Do you have the slightest idea what you are eating? Not so much as when you are at home and preparing your own meals, but when you're on the road at a hotel? You probably haven't a clue and you rely on what the menu tells you and what the waiter says. Turns out both may be lying.

October 24: A FIVE-STAR HOTEL SNOB GOES SLUMMING
I admit to being a five-star hotel snob. But I'm surprised by what I found when I went slumming at a Drury Hotel. I liked the bed, the sitting area, the lobby, the free breakfast and the perks. But, honestly, I'd still prefer a five-star property.

August 22: ON A WING, A PRAYER AND A PARKING SPACE
The hotel industry is in the midst of a global building boom. Some major cities expect a 15 percent increase in room inventory in less than 24 months. That leaves just one question: Where are all the guests going to come from and who is going to fill all these new rooms?

August 1: CAN'T GET NO (HOTEL) SATISFACTION
Mick Jagger has turned 70 years old and still apparently can't get no satisfaction. But can we get satisfaction on hotel stays? According to the latest J.D. Power rankings, hotels are getting a little better. And there are some surprises in the category-by-category winners and losers. But Michael reminds J.D. Power they have the wrong end of the organization chart when it comes to getting the best treatment at a hotel.

June 13: WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE PARISIANS?
Michael is no Francophile, but he found his latest trip to Paris infuriating: It was very wet and everything was expensive--or closed. And he even had trouble finding a decent pate. But, still, he found a nice hotel and, when it was all said and done, his wife decided maybe they could live there.

May 16: WHEN THERE'S A SHINE ON YOUR SHOES ...
Michael has learned what Fred Astaire apparently always knew: When there's a shine on your doorman's shoes, chances are the hotel is going to be great. That's just what happened when he visited Taj's 51 Buckingham Gate in London. And he found some doormen with unshined shoes at fancy hotels that didn't measure up.

April 11: PUTTING ON (AND LIVING AT) THE RITZ
Baroness Thatcher died this week at The Ritz Hotel in London after moving there because the living was easier. Living at a hotel isn't just for the rich and famous, though. For some people, it can be an easy and cost-effective alternative to traditional homes and apartments.

March 14: YOU'LL LOVE IT IN MOGADISHU IN AUGUST
If there's anything that starts me shaking in my boots, while driving me nuts at the same time, it is a simple, oft-asked lodging question. The query is usually lobbed at a dinner party or cocktail reception--or comes via a referral from a friend. "We are going to (fill in the blank). Where should we stay? And what do you recommend we do when we are there?" Some thoughts on how I answer--and why I don't.

February 21: ON A CRUISE, WHERE THERE'S SMOKE...
Michael Matthews just came off a month-long cruise on Seabourn, owned by the same firm that controls the Carnival and Costa lines. But far from having a sob story, Michael had a grand old time and has already booked his next voyage. But he has a bone to pick with the president of the cruise line that calls its ships "yachts."

Copyright 1993-2013 by Michael Matthews. All rights reserved.