Do Not Disturb for 2014
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT MICHAEL MATTHEWS
Michael Matthews has managed and marketed fine hotels around the world for more than 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.


December 12: MY BILLION-DOLLAR HONG KONG HOTEL BABY
They told me I was mad--and now they say my Hong Kong hotel baby is worth a billion dollars. More than 30 years ago, I started with a hotel skeleton lashed to the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour. Now the property is for sale and the asking price is US$1 billion.

November 26: SERVICE, ABOVE AND BEYOND
Let us now consider hotel service that goes above and beyond the call of duty. What, exactly, is it? I've always tried to explain it this way: It's something that occurs when the guest least expects it. It's something that happens that's not in any manual. It's something that stretches beyond the norm.

October 16: RIDICULOUS, RIDICULOUS COPENHAGEN
What was Danny Kaye thinking when he sang "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen"? The place is ridiculous. Filthy streets, high prices, bad hotels and folks who really don't care for the tourist trade. And Tivoli isn't all it's cracked up to be, either.

September 25: SUBLIME NOW, RIDICULOUS LATER
As business travelers, we all experience the sublime to the ridiculous on the road. And much to my surprise, I experienced the same sublime-to-ridiculous range on a recent leisure trip. On the sublime side of the ledger, a fabulous (and surprisingly inexpensive) hotel in Amsterdam and a Belgian chocolate maker worth visiting Ghent to try.

May 29: OFFENSIVE LAWS AND STUPID HOTEL BOYCOTTS
The Sultan of Brunei has imposed sharia law in his oil-rich little nation. And that has led to a boycott of the Sultan's Dorchester Collection hotels by entertainment bigwigs, gay groups and the social elite of Southern California. The problem? The Sultan is so rich that the boycott will not hurt him, only the working stiffs at the affected properties.

May 8: ROOM WITH A VIEW (FROM A PRIVATE JET)
Have you missed one of the better public relations stunts from the hotel industry in a long time? Four Seasons Hotels has got itself a jet. And all you have to do is give the chain $120,000 a person to fly it. And I don't even know if the minibar is free.

March 20: 112 COLUMNS A SLAVE
I've been writing this column for a decade and I thought it wise to finally disclose this: I'm afraid of heights, which is really problematic for a hotelier since the industry has decided to build lodgings that are higher and higher. Here's how I cope--and sometimes cower in the corridor outside the rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows.

January 30: I'LL BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT ...
I am just now reflecting on last year's life on the road. Maybe it's the inner procrastinator in me. Or maybe I've just been enjoying the weather here in Tucson, where there are no tales of flights cancelled due to snow or ice or icy snow or freezing rain that becomes snow or snow that becomes slush that turns to ice overnight. So forgive me for being a month late with these pithy observations. But you can read them all while you're waiting out another cancellation.

These columns originally appeared at JoeSentMe.com.

Copyright 2004-2014 by Michael Matthews. All rights reserved.