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Rewards Points - latest news about hotel loyalty programs

The start of September 2023 saw some minor, clarifying changes made to Marriott Bonvoy T&C's.

(1) Under T&C's 2.1.b Bonvoy members can earn points on their own room plus 2 additional rooms during a stay.  Previously this required the member to "stay in one of the 3 rooms".  This has now been clarified to say that all 3 rooms must have the same check-in and check-out dates. Presumably this is to prevent the member collecting points for say 11 nights by staying only 1 night, while guests in the other rooms stayed  5 nights each.

The member must pay for all 3 rooms by paying a "qualifying" (non-discounted) rate or apply an Award Redemption for all of the rooms.

The benefit is aimed at families or groups staying together for a single vacation.

(2) T&C's for Marriott Homes & Villas were also clarified in a similar manner to align with hotel stays.  A member can earn (5) points per USD spent for up to 3 homes, provided the homes are in the same city and the bookings are for identical check-in and check-out dates.  Also, as with hotels, Elite Night Credits are only received for 1 of the homes (ie the one in which the member stayed).

Finally, the wait is over!

Set upon the banks of the iconic River Clyde and just a stone's throw away from Central Station (and not much further to Queen St Station), The Virgin Hotels Glasgow is an easy walk to Central Station, St Enoch underground station and Buchanan Street (Glasgow's shopping area), making it an ideal base for exploring all that the beautiful city of Glasgow has to offer.

Virgin Hotels (the luxury lifestyle hotel brand by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson) has a loyalty program - The Know.  No points earning to think about.  Just sign up and your loyalty is rewarded at every stay with room upgrades (st availability), member discounted rates and free cocktails during the Spirit Hour.  Members in The Know can also tailor their preferences for the duration of their stays.  You can book through Rewarding Travel - our associated travel agency.

From the vibrant dining & drinking scenes of Commons Club, to the breathtaking views from Highyard, come discover this wonderful new addition to the city. 

The Virgin Hotels Glasgow complements the The Virgin Hotels Edinburgh which as we anticipated in our post of March 2022,  opened 1 June 2022.

This article originally appeared in The Guardian on 25 July 2023.  Excerpts are repeated here to help spread the warning to users of loyalty programs, like you our readers. For the complete article and links to related ones, you should read the original article (which has copyright owned by The Guardian).

The ACCC has issued an urgent warning to customers of some of Australia’s largest loyalty reward programs, including Qantas Frequent Flyer, after detecting a new scam that targets valuable points. The National Anti-Scam Centre has received 209 reports to Scamwatch in the past four months, of the scam targeting Qantas frequent flyer, Telstra and Coles loyalty programs customers.

Australians lost a record amount of more than $3.1bn to scams in 2022, up from the $2bn lost in 2021, according to ACCC figures. New data from Commbank released on Tuesday showed Australians are becoming more cautious of answering the phone because of the increase, with three in four (76%) people only picking up if they recognise the number.

With the new scam, consumers receive a text message or email stating their loyalty points are expiring. It includes a link to a fake website, which prompts customers to log in. Customers may also be prompted to provide credit card details to use loyalty points. Scammers then steal customers’ points, their login details and personal information to use on other platforms and commit identity fraud.

The vast majority of reports to Scamwatch received so far are in relation to Qantas frequent flyer, Telstra and Coles loyalty programs, but Australians should be aware that any loyalty program could be targeted, ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe said.The National Anti-Scam Centre has contacted the companies that have been impersonated by scammers and is working with web host providers to have the fake websites taken down, to minimise harm to the community,”

Lowe said. “We are very concerned that Australians experiencing cost-of-living pressures may be more susceptible to these scams. Scammers are deliberately panicking consumers by claiming their points are expiring soon. We urge people to immediately delete or ignore any message regarding a loyalty program that contains a link.

We advise our readers to be vigilant and if receiving any such emails or texts, to not use those links, but instead go directly to their loyalty program website and check there. There are details on the official sites that provide contact details should you need to speak to anyone.

Further details on the ACCC report can be found....

COMO Orchard launch brings with it COMO's first hometown property & (very) special launch offer

COMO Orchard launch brings with it COMO's first hometown property & (very) special launch offer

The launch of COMO Orchard - a destination concept located at 30 Bideford Road, Singapore that unites COMO’s signature house brands and new partnerships into one inspiring lifestyle space -  includes COMO Metropolitan Singapore, which marks the hotel group’s debut homecoming to Singapore shores.

COMO Metropolitan Singapore offers the quintessential Singaporean experience with the best in COMO Group’s hospitality, fashion, wellness and cuisine across 19 floors, including including:

  • COMO Shanbhala - the luxury wellness and spa centre; and
  • COTE Singapore, a Korean Steakhouse from Simon Kim, who has garnered Michelin stars for his restaurants in New York and Miami.

  • Be one of the first to stay at this exciting new hotel and enjoy 4 nights for the price of 3.
    • Book by 31 August 2023 for a minimum stay of 4 nights
    • Stay between 19 September and 21 December 2023.
    In addition, Comoclub members will earn an exclusive bonus of 1,000 Comocredits for every night stayed!
    Bookings can be made through our associated travel agency, Rewarding Travel.

    T&C's apply

    Dis-loyalty program to be launched by an Accor division

    Dis-loyalty program to be launched by an Accor division

    Ennismore, a group that that encompasses several hotel brands such as SO/, The Hoxton and Mondrian will launch it's own membership program on July 27, 2023.

    Using "Dis-loyalty" as the program name seems to be a counter-intuitive marketing tactic.

    A "teaser" video has been released and the only details so far are that "Ennismore is excited to announce Dis-loyalty – a new travel and food membership that beats boring and brings together 10 brands from our lifestyle collective… stay tuned for more…"

    Ennismore and Accor entered a joint venture in 2021 to create a new autonomous entity, with Accor holding a majority shareholding. 

    In 2022, Ennismore expanded across the lifestyle and leisure segments with the additions of Rixos, the luxury all-inclusive brand, and Paris Society, a leading operator of luxury restaurants & entertainment venues (including Maison Russe in Paris)., creating three new distinct business units.

    How this new program will sit against Accor's overall loyalty/lifestyle program Accor Live Limitless will be intriguing.  I guess we will learn more in a week's time.

    (Pictured is the lobby of SO/ in Paris)

    GHA launches loyalty partnership with Regent Seven Seas | Triple rewards for limited time

    GHA launches loyalty partnership with Regent Seven Seas | Triple rewards for limited time

    Members of the GHA Discovery Program can earn elite status by sailing with one of the world’s leading luxury cruise lines.

    In an interesting development, Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, has entered a loyalty partnership with luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises (Regent), which offers access to 500+ ports of call around the globe.

    This follows the recent trend of luxury hotel chains launching their own luxury cruise lines (Aman, Belmond, Four Seasons, Accor's Orient-Express, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Club and Virgin Voyages), although only 3 currently have ships sailing.

    GHA DISCOVERY members, who have access to 800 hotels, resorts and palaces operated by 40 hotel brands in 100 countries, are rewarded with the program’s rewards currency, DISCOVERY Dollars (D$1 equal to US$1).

    Through this exclusive partnership, the program’s members will now enjoy the additional benefit of earning DISCOVERY Dollars by reserving a voyage with Regent and will be able to redeem those benefits in any GHA hotel, resort or palace, but not to book cruises or while sailing onboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises ships.

    Benefits for GHA DISCOVERY members
    • Between D$750 and D$2,500 for every Regent cruise reservation made, which can be spent at any GHA hotel or resort worldwide, valid for 12 months.
    • Fast-track upgrade to GHA DISCOVERY Titanium status, valid for over 12 months (the remainder of the calendar year in which it is earned, plus all of the following calendar year), offering benefits such as double room upgrades, special amenities, early check-in, and late checkout at GHA hotels and resorts worldwide.
    • On-board welcome gift of premium chocolates and Champagne with any Regent voyage reserved by a GHA DISCOVERY member.
    Launch Promotion

    To celebrate the launch of the partnership, GHA DISCOVERY members can collect triple rewards of up to D$7,500, The offer is valid for bookings until 30 September 2023 and cruises departing on or before 31 December 2023.

    Our thoughts

    While the luxury hotel chains of Aman, Belmond, Four Seasons, Accor's Orient-Express, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Club and Virgin Voyages have chosen to create their own cruise lines, GHA instead chose to forge an alliance with a well-establisd existing luxury line in Regent.

    This possibly reflects their background in managing alliances, but also has the advantage of providing immediate benefits for its Discovery members (and potentially many new passengers for Regent) without any teething problems.  

    The value of Discovery program should aslo not be lost by Regent passengers, who would be wise to join Discovery prior to booking their next cruise

    For more information regarding GHA Discovery, refer to our comprehensive guide to GHA Discovery, which has details on how to join.
    For more information on the GHA/Regent alliance, please see the Frequently Asked Questions here.

    COMO has confirmed Metropolitan Singapore Opening Timeline - September 2023 soft launch for 156-room luxury hotel

    The COMO Group this week reconfirmed a soft opening in September 2023 for its first hotel in the hospitality company’s home country, COMO Metropolitan Singapore. .

    The property will be located within COMO Orchard, the brand’s newest immersive experience building spread over 19 floors in the heart of Singapore on Bideford Road.

    Opening in successive phases starting in September 2023, the 156-room hotel boasts city-wide views and brings together COMO Group’s three hospitality pillars of fashion, wellness and cuisine into one location. COMO Orchard will host COMO Metropolitan Singapore’s 11 floors of luxury accommodations, a rooftop pool bar for guests, as well floors for dining, a wellness centre, and fashion retail.

    The brand’s wellness centre, COMO Shambhala, has been at the forefront of preventative health in the hospitality industry for over 25 years throughout 16 global COMO properties. The newest addition to the COMO Shambhala portfolio, COMO Orchard’s wellness facility dedicated to holistic well-being offers luxury spa treatments and addresses both core movement – yoga, Pilates, Gyro, gym and functional fitness – and nutrition including gut health and body composition diagnostics.

    Classes, workshops, one-day Wellness Packages and multi-day Wellness Paths allow guests to either choose their wellness journey, or have one curated for them.

    COMO Orchard will host three dining venues and two floors dedicated to fashion retail.

    Opening rates are expected to start from S$625 per night..

    For more details, ...  

    The folk at Odynn have been busy.  They have just released some very exciting news: they’ve launched award availability alerts! 

    Award Availability Alerts:

    (1)  You can now set award availability alerts in Awayz on the Trip Overview page. You can also customize the alerts by updating the dates on the Preferences page.
    (2)  When award availability opens for a hotel you set an alert for, you’ll be notified through email and on Awayz when you log in. Premium members are allotted five alerts and Free users have one. Email alerts for award availability will launch early next week but for now, you’ll be notified on Awayz.

    ●  When award availability opens for a hotel you set an alert for, you’ll be notified by email and on Awayz when you log in.
    ● Premium users are allotted five alerts, and the alerts can be set on the Trip Overview page and also customized by updating the dates on the Preferences page.
    ● If you haven’t had a chance to check out the newest award availability alerts feature, please do and let us know your feedback.  

    This new feature is an invaluable one.  Some programs are renowned for only releasing limited availability of award nights.  Awayz will help you find and book them faster than other members of Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt, Marriott Bonvoy and IHG One Rewards.

    No need to miss out ever again!..

    Premium hotel deal alerts newsletter now includes multi nights!

    For premium subscribers, the links for the deals now take you directly to the Trip Overview page so you’ll know if you have enough points to book the trip!

    Perfect for planning (and booking) your next holiday !

    We are proud to be able to offer this great tool at a special rate for our readers.  Even more pleasing is the commitment to developing the tool to make it ever more useful for travellers using points to enhance the luxe level of their travels - like you and us.

    Renovated resort will become the first Marriott-branded all-inclusive resort in the world

    Renovated resort will become the first Marriott-branded all-inclusive resort in the world

    The former Marriott Cancun Resort will reopen in early 2024 as an all-inclusive renamed Marriott Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort.

    The resort will become the first Marriott-branded all-inclusive resort in the world.

    The former Marriott Cancun Resort closed its doors in March 2023 to undergo an extensive renovation for the conversion.

    It’s also the latest step in Marriott International’s quest to grow its all-inclusive footprint. In 2019 Marriott International announced it planned to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in all-inclusive resort product. Since 2019 Marriott has grown its All-Inclusive by Marriott Bonvoy portfolio to 31 resorts.

    Marriott and its competitors may be relative newcomers to an all-inclusive market already dominated in Mexico and the Caribbean by Spain-based hotel conglomerates (Iberostar, Barcelo etc), and other dominant players including Sandals Resorts. But they’re making up for lost time in a hurry.

    Marriott says the renewed Marriott Cancun, An All-Inclusive Resort will redefine what it means to be ‘all-inclusive’ and will debut newly redesigned rooms, suites, lobby, meeting spaces, and public areas, including new restaurant concepts, expansive pools, and a lazy river and waterpark.

    The resort began renovations in March 2023. Meanwhile the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa sister resort is open and fully operating.

    How six of Spain's top hospitality companies keep their operations more sustainable

    How six of Spain's top hospitality companies keep their operations more sustainable

    Since 1973, the United Nations has recognized June 5 as World Environment Day, an annual event that it says "puts a global spotlight on the pressing environmental challenges of our times". This seems like the perfect time to highlight a few hospitality businesses and their sustainability initiatives.

    In the hospitality industry, embracing more sustainable practices is more than a moral imperative; it makes good business sense. That's because sustainable tourism has become a top priority for a large number of travelers. (This is especially true of millennials and members of Generation Z.).  For some in the hotel industry, implementing more sustainable practices might mean taking small steps — they could replace plastic straws with reusable glass or metal ones, for example — or it might mean making major changes to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and eliminate food waste.

    According to a 2022 Sustainable Travel Report from, 73% of travelers say they would be more likely to choose an accommodation that has implemented sustainable practices — and 81% intend to stay in an environmentally friendly location at least once in the next year. 

    If this is you, read on to learn more about how these 6 hotel chains lead the way in conscious and meaningful sustainability.

    Barceló Hotel Group

    Barceló Hotel Group is Spain's second-largest hotel chain, with more than 250 four- and five-star urban and holiday hotels, and more than 55,000 rooms across 22 countries. The company's properties are marketed under the brands Royal Hideaway, Barceló, Occidental and Allegro. 

    It has an active loyalty program - my Barceló. 

    What they’re doing

    Recognizing climate change as a global environmental crisis, Barceló Hotel Group has made a commitment to reduce its environmental impact.

    At its Occidental hotels in the United Arab Emirates, for example, the company's sustainability practices are implemented through eco-friendly cleaning products, water and energy conservation, and waste reduction.

    Occidental Al Jaddaf, for instance, uses solar panels to operate water heaters for energy conservation and features low-flow devices in public bathrooms and showers to reduce water consumption.

    Barceló Hotel Group's vice president for sales and marketing for GCC, Raquel López, said in a news release: “We aim to be at the forefront of sustainability within the hospitality industry to ensure that our properties are not only safe for our guests at this current time, but also for the generations of travelers yet to come. The introduction of this comprehensive strategy has allowed us to lay the framework for even more sustainable initiatives in the future.”


    Operating more than 100 hotels in 16 countries, Iberostar has built its brand image on its dedication to promoting responsible and sustainable travel. The Iberostar Group's offerings range from all-inclusive beachside resorts in Mexico, Jamaica and Brazil to chic urban hotels in cities like New York, Barcelona, Marrakech and Lisbon.

    It has closed its own loyalty program - Iberostar Horizons.  Almost all properties now participate in the IHG One Rewards program via a marketing alliance.

    What they’re doing

    Iberostar's Wave of Change program signals that the international hotel chain is committed to moving towards a circular economy, promoting the responsible consumption of seafood and improving the health of coastal environments.

    In addition to phasing out single-use plastic items in 1999 — eliminating the use of over 420 tonnes of plastics annually — the company has committed to making its operations waste-free by 2025 and carbon neutral by 2030.

    Earlier this year, Iberostar reopened its Cristina hotel in Playa de Palma, Mallorca, following an upgrade in its energy supply that has eliminated the use of all fossil fuels in favor of electricity from renewable energy sources. This move makes the hotel greener by reducing its carbon footprint to zero without compromising the guest experience.

    Iberostar has also pledged that its seafood consumption will be 100% sustainable by 2025, and it has already hit that target in Mexico. Investment in sustainable fishing supports local communities and helps preserve local ecosystems for future generations.

    Iberostar is hoping that, by 2025, Wave of Change will be a major driver for 60% of all hotel-room bookings at its properties.

    Meliá Hotels International

    One of the 20 largest hotel companies in the world, Meliá Hotels International operates more than 380 properties on four continents.

    It has an active loyalty program -  Meliá Rewards, for which we have a detailed guide.

    What they’re doing

    Meliá's commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement has led it to identify specific medium-term environmental objectives related to combating climate change.

    Driven by innovation and technology, Meliá has developed an efficient management system designed to reduce the use of natural resources and shrink each hotel's carbon footprint.

    The company's sustainable strategies include:
    • Implementing sustainability criteria throughout the supply chain, beginning with hotel concept and design
    • Using certified sources of renewable energy, standardizing efficient management systems and implementing systems that reduce water usage
    • Reducing or eliminating high-impact waste from the ecosystem
    • Measurement and control of consumption through tools, indicators and scientific criteria
    • Training employees and raising customer awareness through programs focused on respect for the environment and biodiversity

    NH Hotel Group

    NH Hotel Group is one of the 25 largest chains in the world and operates 356 hotels across 33 countries in Europe, the Americas, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

    It recently migrated its loyalty program to participate in GHA Discovery.

    What they’re doing

    NH Hotel Group has dubbed its environmental management plan UP FOR Planet, which is its roadmap for fulfilling the commitments it has made to combat climate change and progress towards decarbonization, the efficient management and consumption of resources and the development of more sustainable products.

    The company has set a number of sustainable development goals, with the aim of achieving the following:
    • 64% of energy use by hotel buildings is to come from renewable energy sources
    • 15 million single-use plastic amenities (e.g. plastic straws and cups) eliminated each year
    • 35% yearly reduction in energy consumption per room nights
    • 89% local purchases

    Palladium Hotel Group

    Palladium Hotel Group is an international hotel chain based in Ibiza, with 48 hotels in six different countries (Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Italy) around the world.  

    Palladium has its own loyalty program - Palladium Rewards.

    What they’re doing

    Palladium's green practices are focused on the following goals, among others:
    • Reducing single-use plastics 
    • Moving towards digitalization
    • Rational, sustainable use of water 
    • Measuring the company's carbon footprint more accurately 
    • Reducing energy consumption 
    • Circular economy initiatives 
    • Reducing, recycling and reusing waste 
    • Protecting biodiversity 
    Palladium's sustainability initiatives include a turtle conservation and release program in Jamaica, beach cleanup and maintenance at all of its hotels, and a program that monitors the health of the mangrove forests on its properties along the Riviera Maya.


    The state-owned Paradores de Turismo specializes in cultural and nature tourism, with 97 properties throughout Spain's autonomous communities and one in Portugal. In addition to having Paradores in nine cities that have been declared World Heritage Sites, the company also operates accommodations in national parks and other natural areas, often housed in heritage properties such as castles and monasteries.

    Paradores has a little known loyalty program - Amigos de Paradores.

    What they’re doing

    Paradores has implemented a Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate its impact on climate change, with the objective of being net-zero in 2030.

    A few milestones on Paradores' sustainability journey to date:
    • In 2019, the organization announced that it would replace plastic straws, bottles and cups with compostable alternatives.
    • Starting in 2020, Paradores has calculated the carbon footprint of all of its properties with an eye toward replacing deficient or highly CO2-emitting equipment as well as the improvement of automatic control systems for energy consumption.
    • Electricity at each of Paradores' properties is generated through the use of renewable resources.

    To find out more about sustainability in the hospitality industry, visit the website of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. Members of the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance include some of the biggest names in the hotel industry, such as Iberostar, Accor, Hilton and Marriott International.

    Kimpton Secret Password - use before it self-destructs September 4

    Kimpton Secret Password - use before it self-destructs September 4

    Kimpton Hotels have a funky boutique hotel brand image. One of many aspects of its charm is the Kimpton secret password  that guests can mention at check-in to get a perk, benefit, or bonus. These include items like free parking, a free breakfast, a free upgrade, etc.

    What's the latest Kimpton Hotel Secret Password?

    It's been several months since the last secret password, which expired on February 20, 2023. Now, there's a new password running May 26–September 3, 2023.

    When checking into a Kimpton hotel between those dates, you can use the secret password “no shade” to (hopefully) receive a special perk or privilege.

    Kimpton Hotels have provided seasonal or monthly secret passwords to guests for years. The tradition started before IHG acquired the brand in 2014. Some of the secret passwords have been phrases such as “stay cool,” “flip flops,” “baby, it's cold outside,” “chilled to perfection,” and even “marshmallow.”

    This summer, Kimpton Hotel is using the secret password “no shade.” It is valid at all participating locations May 26–September 3, 2023. Kimpton Hotels have stated that every hotel honors the secret password differently, so it's a surprise what you'll get.

    Secret Password Perks You May Receive

    Historically, guests have reported a wide range of bonuses when using the Kimpton Hotels' secret password. Here are some examples:

    • Free parking (regular or valet)
    • Complimentary breakfast
    • Free upgrade
    • Complimentary bottle of wine
    • A whisky-tasting tour
    • Cupcakes
    • A movie night in your room
    • Free drinks at the bar
    • Surprise gift-wrapped presents
    • Drink kits (like Bailey's hot chocolate)
    • Mini-bar credit

    The bonuses aren't always at the hotel, as some hotels have partnered with other companies. For example, such as another restaurant or perhaps a whisky distillery. It's been three months since the last password “expired,” so it's nice to see the Kimpton secret password is back. It's just a little thing, but adds to the vibe of the Kimpton brand, which I like.

    If you do have a stay booked this summer, make sure to check Kimpton's social media to see if there's a new password.

    Hyatt launches new All-Inclusive brand - Impression by Secrets

    Hyatt launches new All-Inclusive brand - Impression by Secrets

    Hyatt Hotels has announced the opening of Impression by Secrets Isla Mujeres in Mexico. The adults-only luxury resort marks the launch of the Impression by Secrets brand, part of Hyatt’s Inclusive Collection.

    Impression by Secrets will target the top end of All-Inclusicve stays, with a range of personalized service and amenities offered to guests via an extension of the brand’s “Endless Privileges” concept.

    Guests of Impression by Secrets Isla Mujeres can indulge in a multitude of privileged inclusions before even checking in. Butlers will welcome guests on the mainland as they board a private yacht from Marina Hacienda del Mar to reach the resort’s private pier, following which they are taken to the island and guided to their rooms. These complimentary transfers ensure guests’ needs are met from shore to sea with a full bar and butler service available during the 25-minute sail.

    Located on the southern end of the island, the resort offers views of the Caribbean SeaAtlantic Ocean and Isla Mujeres. The use of natural elements such as bamboo and local wood complements its setting atop a coastal cliff. Complete with butler service and complimentary laundry services, the resort’s 125 suites offer in-room amenities such as double rain showers, terrace whirlpools, custom-stocked wine fridges and yoga mats.

    The resort has eight à la carte dining venues, nine bars and lounges with unlimited top-shelf spirits, pool and beach service, as well as in-suite dining available 24 hours. Gourmet restaurants include an open terrace restaurant, Spezia, serving Mediterranean cuisine; and Unik, the rooftop restaurant that hosts live music in the evening.

    Pure SPA offers a range of experiences, from touchless therapies in the island’s only Floatarium to the hammam and six private spa cabins. Additionally, a fitness center, complete with a certified personal trainer, equipment, fitness classes, and a variety of wellness-focused activities such as SUP yoga further enhance a holistic wellbeing journey.

    Located on a white-sand beach ideal for snorkeling, the resort has four oceanfront infinity pools, Bali beds and hammocks, an over-water lounge ideal for observing marine life and a four-story waterslide. The daily activities calendar and nightly entertainment include options such as cooking classes, coffee and wine tastings, and sunset paddle boarding.

    To explore the five-mile-long island, the resort provides guests with complimentary golf carts and bikes to enjoy Isla Mujeres’ coral reefs, rocky coastline, ancient Mayan ruins and local boutique shops and eateries.

    Impression by Secrets Isla Mujeres is an Hyatt Category F property, for which Standard rooms usually vary in price from 42,000 to 58,000 points per night.  

    A quick look revealed that a standard room currently cost 50,000 points per night until 1 September, after which the rate drops to 42,000 points per night.  Mid-December 2023  through April 2024 are currently priced at 58,000 points per night.

    For more information, visit www.impression-by-secrets-isla-mujeres.

    Points or Cash? Special deal for this new tool which finds best value - in real time

    Points or Cash? Special deal for this new tool which finds best value - in real time

    The new tool
    A new tool has been launched to help members of major loyalty programs decide which method of payment provides best value - cash or your hard-earned points.

    After trialling it myself, I found it easy to use and quickly found good deals which I was able to independently verify.

    I liked it so much that I approached them to see if there was a way readers could readily access their tool.  I am pleased to say that I have been able to obtain a special deal for our readers. Details are below.

    Currently applicable for loyalty program members of IHG, Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott (the big 4), I have my fingers crossed that there are also more waiting in the wings..

    Subscribers to Awayz By Odynn (advertiser) are able to:

    • see when awards nights are available at a property on a 12-month outlook and
      see when to take advantage of fourth/ fifth-night free offers for IHG, Marriott, and Hilton hotels
    • compare cash and points pricing side-by-side to determine the optimal way to pay for their next stay - LIVE ! Not with points valuations that are updated monthly and are  out-of date during seasonal peaks and troughs - exactly the times you need most accuracy.

    • see when to use Free Night Certificates

    • receive tailored redemption recommendations based on their (stored) existing hotel points and (US) bank rewards balances - a great feature is that active bank transfer bonus promotions are taken into consideration as well.

    • redeem their points as cash through transfer award programs like Bilt, Citi, Chase, and Capital One.

    Lastly, Premium subscribers are always kept up-to-date on the latest points deals thanks to the weekly hotel deal alerts newsletter that uses the live cash vs. points pricing.

    As you can imagine, there must be some sophisticated number-crunching in the tool to be able to do all this.

    Most importantly you now don't need to do it!

    Standard Pricing
    There are 3 tiers available from Awayz:

    Premium, which includes all the above valuable features with a generous limit of 150 monthly searches. The pricing for this tier is usually US$11.99 monthly, or an annual rate of US$99.99 (a discount of 30%).  Ideal for regular travellers and points enthusiasts who are tired of juggling multiple websites when planning their stays. 

    Trip Pass: provides Premium Tier access (without the weekly deal alerts newsletter) and 50 searches for US$4.99 per 72 hour pass

    Free: provides Premium Tier access (without the weekly deal alerts newsletter) for 5 searches per month - enough to get used to the tool and see how valuable it is.

    Special Offer for pointsNplaces readers
    For our readers, Awayz is offering a promotional offer of free 72-hour trial of Premium plus a US$10 discount off the annual subscription and you will keep that rate forever, as long as you renew the subscription each year.

    That's an annual subscription for US$89.99 (excludes tax) for as long as you maintain this special subscription.

    Just imagine how much this could save you over a year!  Just one stay could pay for the entire year's subscription - and save you a heap of your time as well as money..

    Subscribe now and start seeing the value Awayz can add for your next summer break. 

    The best value is in the Annual Premium tier - at a discount to the already discounted annual rate (an overall discount of 37.5%). To take advantage of the offer either use the link above, or enter the code pointsnplaces on the Packages page on their website

    Happy bargain hunting !

    Link your Qatar Airlines and Accor ALL accounts before June 10 - receive bonus points for both

    Link your Qatar Airlines and Accor ALL accounts before June 10 - receive bonus points for both

    In September 2022, Accor Hotels improved its partnership with Qatar Airways. Since then, members have been able to double dip on Accor hotel stays and Qatar Airways flights. To do this, you need to link your ALL account with your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account. You can do that with Accor Hotels or Qatar Airways.

    Even better, if you haven't already done this, members now can earn a bonus through June 10, 2023 just for linking their accounts.

    If you already took advantage of the ALL and Flying Blue partnership or the ALL and Qantas partnership, you'll need to choose which airline you want to double dip with. You can link your ALL account to just one airline at a time. If you linked your ALL account to Flying Blue or Qantas in the past 12 months, you need to wait until the end of 12 months before you can link to Qatar Airways.

    This promotion is available to members who have not linked their ALL and Qatar accounts before May 10, 2023. If that is you, link your ALL and Qatar Airways accounts before June 10, 2023. After doing so, complete an eligible stay and/or flight before August 31, 2023 to earn bonus points and Avios. Members will receive 500 bonus ALL Reward points on the stay and 1,000 bonus Avios on the flight.

    Terms & Conditions
    • Members must link accounts for the first time between May 10 and June 10, 2023 (at 11:59pm Arabia Standard Time, GMT+3) before booking a stay or flight.
    • Book the stay or flight before June 10 and complete it before August 31, 2023.
    • Accor stays must be booked directly with Accor.
    • Qatar Airways flights can be booked through any channel.
    • Members can only claim this promotion once.
    • Make sure to provide the applicable membership number at the time of booking.
    • After completing an eligible stay, bonus points will credit to the member's account within six weeks. Regular points from the stay will credit within seven days, and Avios will credit within 10 days.
    • After completing an eligible flight, bonus Avios will credit to the member's account within six weeks. Regular Avios will credit within 24 hours, and ALL Reward points will credit within 10 days.
    • This promotion stacks with other Accor or Qatar Airways promotions.
    • Stays at onefinestay are not eligible for this offer.
    • Stays and flights that are partially or wholly purchased with loyalty points are ineligible.
    You can link your accounts either through Accor Hotels or Qatar Airways.

    Fast Track to Elite Status

    The Accor and Qatar partnership includes a fast track to elite status in both rewards programs. Accor elite status members will earn Qatar Airways Privilege Club elite status after their first qualifying flight:
    • ALL Gold status members will receive Privilege Club Silver status.
    • ALL Platinum status members will receive Privilege Club Gold status.
    • ALL Diamond status members will receive Privilege Club Platinum status.
    Conversely, those with Privilege Club elite status can earn ALL elite status after the first qualifying hotel stay:
    • Privilege Club Gold status members will receive ALL Silver status.
    • Privilege Club Platinum status members will receive ALL Gold status.
    The Fast Track offers are available only once per person. Your complimentary ALL elite status will last until the end of the following calendar year. To maximize this, try to get your status as close to the beginning of the year as possible. Complimentary Privilege Club elite status will last for 12 months from the date it's received.

    This is a great partnership, especially for Australians, offering better value than the Accor-Qantas partnership, combining the same access to OneWorld partners with the wide range of Accor properties and perks available in APAC..

    Marriott first to "prominently display" Resort Fees - effective from May 15

    Marriott first to "prominently display" Resort Fees - effective from May 15

    In response to a court settlement in 2021, by mid-May Marriott will be the first to respond to consumer pressure with upfront full rates on its website and app.

    Marriott International in mid-May is going to prominently display on its website and mobile app rates inclusive of resort or destination fees, according to multiple reports. Marriott is making this required moved based on a 2021 settlement in a Pennsylvania court regarding resort fees as a deceptive practice. 

    Now the question becomes how quickly other hotels, hotel companies and online travel agents will follow suit before similarly pursued by states.

    As of now, online travel agencies such as Expedia can show Marriott rates with resort fees displayed much less prominently.

    Marriott issued a statement on the afternoon of Monday May 1st (local time):  “Marriott International is committed to providing customers with clear and transparent pricing. We have long been focused on ensuring that any resort/destination fees charged by hotels are separately and clearly stated. We have been working diligently over the last several months on the technology required to update our room rate display and further enhance the way these fees are disclosed, in accordance with our agreement with the State of Pennsylvania. In fact, when we deploy our changes by May 15, 2023, we expect to be the first hospitality company to change its display, leading the industry on this important issue."

    Other hotel chain have also had resort fees associated with some properties that were not fully disclosed until payment.  Some resort fees were applied to properties that were clearly not "resorts".

    Further, even though the members of some loyalty progrms may have had resort fees waived, not all programs did so.

    This added price transparency is a win for consumers.  We hope the online travel agencies join the party soon.

    Marriott expands its affordable/midrange presence in Caribbean and Latin America region

    Marriott expands its affordable/midrange presence in Caribbean and Latin America region

    Marriott announced today that it has completed its acquisition of the City Express brand portfolio from Hoteles City Express, S.A.B. de C.V. (BMV: HCITY). With this acquisition, Marriott International has entered the affordable midscale segment and is launching its 31st brand, City Express by Marriott.

    With this brand acquisition, Marriott has significantly grown its presence in the Caribbean and Latin America, making it the largest hotel company in the region,

    The existing City Express hotel portfolio, consisting of approximately 150 properties, is now part of Marriott’s franchise system. These properties include urban, suburban, and extended stay offerings in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile.. The transaction has increased Marriott’s presence in the CALA (Caribbean and Latin America) region by approximately 45 percent.

    The City Express brand portfolio consists of five sub-brands: City Express, City Express Plus, City Express Suites, City Express Junior, and City Centro.

    In the coming months, the City Premios loyalty program is expected to be retired during 2023, as it is integrated into the Marriott Bonvoy platform.

    Hyatt further expands its luxury footprint with Mr & Mrs Smith

    Hyatt further expands its luxury footprint with Mr & Mrs Smith

    The announcement
    Mr & Mrs Smith has announced an agreement for a Hyatt affiliate to acquire London-based Mr & Mrs Smith, a platform offering direct booking access to a carefully curated collection of over 1,500 boutique and luxury properties in some of the world’s most desirable locations. The transaction is anticipated to close in the second quarter of this year, subject to the usual closing conditions.

    The move is the latest in a string of acquisitions and partnerships fuelling Hyatt’s expansion into luxury and lifestyle hotels as well as deepening its portfolio of European properties.

    What it means for Hyatt
    The planned acquisition of Mr & Mrs Smith is expected to build on Hyatt’s leadership position in luxury and further strengthen Hyatt’s distribution capabilities, especially across Europe - a region where Hyatt has historically been under-represented.

    This acquisition builds on a transformative growth period for Hyatt in the last 12 months, which included the recently completed acquisition of Dream Hotel Group’s lifestyle brand and management portfolio and the conversion of a portfolio of over 30 franchise agreements with Lindner Hotels & Resorts and me and all hotels, as well as substantial organic growth of Hyatt’s global portfolio.

    As a result of Hyatt’s expanded brand portfolio and ever-growing offering for every stay occasion, membership in the World of Hyatt loyalty program has more than tripled during the past five years.

    Adding Mr and Mrs Smith could make 36-million-member Hyatt’s loyalty program more valuable to it users, complementing Hyatt’s offerings (eg expanding into Villas). Initially, Hyatt will  seek to leverage Mr & Mrs Smith’s one-million-strong membership base.

    It aims to launch direct booking access to properties within the luxury specialist’s platform and also attract its members to the World of Hyatt program,

    Benefits for World of Hyatt members
    World of Hyatt members will gain access to even more global luxury of offerings across hundreds of geographies – including over 20 countries where there are currently no Hyatt hotels such as Fiji, Croatia, Iceland and Anguilla (though World of Hyatt members can find points-earning and redemption options in some of those places thanks to the program's affiliation with Small Luxury Hotels of the World).

    Hyatt plans to unveil direct booking access to properties within the Mr & Mrs Smith platform through Hyatt’s distribution channels, including and the World of Hyatt app.  Hyatt is exploring ways to enable World of Hyatt members to earn and redeem points across eligible hotels in the Mr & Mrs Smith collection.

    IHG loses out
    The deal comes at the expense of IHG Hotels & Resorts, which for a few years had a marketing partnership with Mr & Mrs Smith where IHG selectively offered to its loyalty members access to a few hundred of its 1,500 hotels in markets where IHG didn’t already have a strong presence of similar upscale properties like InterContinental, Kimpton or Six Senses.

    Unfortunately, that partnership never really got onto solid ground from a loyalty program perspective.  

    *  When staying at Mr & Mrs Smith hotels as an IHG One Rewards member, many travellers noted it was a clunky endeavour to book the hotels via IHG, and you often had to manually remove any other brand option but the Mr & Mrs Smith partnership in the search.

    *  Disjointed loyalty recognition was another sticking point amid the IHG partnership, as IHG One Rewards members earned one set of benefits while those in IHG's separate InterContinental Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle members enjoyed elevated benefits at Mr & Mrs Smith properties

    That deal presumably will end by the time this transaction closes.We expect that Hyatt’s experience with its SLH partnership will mean that many of these types of issues will not be faced by World of Hyatt members.

    The fact that these hotels and others in the Mr & Mrs Smith ecosystem will now be part of Hyatt puts significant pressure on IHG to find a new partner with unique luxury properties to entice its members to remain loyal. This comes on the heels of several other challenges IHG has faced recently, including a planned Six Senses property in New York City that switched brand affiliation to Accor’s Faena label.

    Parting thoughts
    This acquisition will strengthen Hyatt’s position in the luxury traveller market, broadening the range of properties available and further addresses Hyatt’s historically small footprint in Europe relative to its main competitors. What we like most is Hyatt’s focus on quality and strategic acquisitions, rather than being drawn towards being bigger just for its own sake.

    About Mr & Mrs Smith
    Founded in 2003, Mr & Mrs Smith is the travel club for hotel lovers: an award-winning boutique and luxury hotel booking service specialising in the world’s most seductive stays. There are now more than 1,800 hotels and villas in the collection, all hand-picked and anonymously reviewed. 

    Points and miles enthusiasts now have a new tool at their disposal to help find the best price on hotels around the world.

    Combining real-time data Awayz claims 99% accurate price comparison from all sources for:
    * hotel room pricing,
    * points balances,
    * award availability (up to 12 months) and
    * credit card benefits.

    After trialling it ourselves, we believe this is one travel subscription you must have. It will enhance your points and miles experience and save you $$$.

    In its attempt to own more of the traveller experience from start to finish, AccorHotels  is enabling guests to book hotel and flight packages, who can choose from more than 200 AccorHotels properties in 30 destinations worldwide. The feature caters mostly to leisure travellers.

    Flights choices come from multiple airlines, both network carriers and low-cost, and the booking engine

    Key points are:

    Save up to 20% off your booking​ - The best Flight + Hotel deals, negotiated by our ALL experts, all year round.
    Customise your perfect package​ - Choose from our range of quality hotels worldwide and from any airline at your preferred flight time.
    Earn points on every stay - Members of ALL earn Status points & Reward points on every package booked.
    Save up to 20% off​​​ - Whenever, wherever you want, you will save 20% off all year round with a Flight+Hotel package.
    Your holiday, your way​​​ - Choose from Accor's wide range of hotel, resort, and apartment brands worldwide, then select your preferred airline and you're ready to take-off.
    Boost your points balance​​​ - Earn 1 Status point and 1 Reward point for every 2 euros you spend on a Flight+Hotel package. Note that ALL points are also earned on additional purchases during your stay.

    Our thoughts - this is an attractive and convenient package for ALL members.  We like that you

    1} can select any airline, not only ALL's alliance partners Air France/KLM or Qantas.  

    Flights choices come from multiple airlines, both network carriers and low-cost, and the booking engine will automatically suggest the best flight schedule for the consumer. However, travelers can also change the flight options, and choose exactly which flights or airlines they wish to book, with the package cost adjusting automatically.

    2) earn both reward points and status points on the flight portion
    3) receive a significant discount to publicly available pricing.

    On the downside,

    1} The ALL Members' Rate and Accor Plus members' rate does not apply.
    2) Member benefits during stay (welcome drink, complimentary breakfast, upgrades etc ) and bonus offers do not apply.
    3) Payment with points does not apply to bookings online or at the hotel.

    Overall, we like this development from Accor and ALL.  It is definitely worth checking out when planning your next (especially overseas) trip.

    Shangri-La Melbourne slated to open in 1Q2024 - not long to wait

    Shangri-La Melbourne slated to open in 1Q2024 - not long to wait

    60-storey luxury Shangri-La Melbourne arriving in less than 12 months

    Part of the Sapphire by the Gardens development in the Melbourne CBD, Shangri-La Hotel Melbourne CBD will take up residence in one of two 60-storey-plus skyscrapers when it opens in Q1 2024.

    The five star hotel will occupy the taller 62-floor tower, spread across approximately 57,114 sq m gross floor area. The other tower will house 325 luxury apartments. The two towers overlook Melbourne’s World Heritage-listed Carlton Gardens and will be connected by a Sky Lounge two-thirds of the way up.

    Upon completion, Shangri-La Melbourne will incorporate an impressive range of luxury accommodation choices, including approximately 500 spacious guestrooms which will have a 50sq m average size and a couple of the bigger penthouses being about “six bays” – equating to about six guestrooms in size each.  Some of the well-appointed guestrooms, will have exquisite family rooms – the first of its kind in Australia – with Horizon Club guestrooms, Premier and Presidential Suites on the upper levels.

    Shangri-La Hotel Melbourne will feature a striking façade embellished with champagne gold fins. The facility will also deliver the largest ballroom space in the city’s CBD with elegant six-metre-high ceilings. Other amenities will include restaurants, a lounge and bar, spa, fitness centre with gym and yoga space, as well as both a roof garden pool and indoor heated swimming pool.

    Shangri-La is one of my favourite brands for city stays.  Shangri-La's newest Australian property is eagerly awaited.

    JW Marriott enters the Luxury Safari market

    JW Marriott enters the Luxury Safari market

    Marriott today announced the opening of JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, marking the company's highly anticipated debut in the luxury safari segment.

    Sitting within the Masai Mara National Reserve in Southwestern Kenya, one of Africa’s most renowned wildlife and wilderness conservation regions, the lodge is a sophisticated sanctuary from which to discover animals and breathtaking vistas in harmony. Exhilarating guided game drives offer guests the opportunity to observe the “Big Five” that Masai Mara is home to, including lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinoceros, and elephants. Between June and September, the reserve is host to the annual great wildebeest migration, which sees more than 10 million animals travel a distance of 1,800 miles from the Serengeti in neighboring Tanzania.

    JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge is a 30-minute drive from Keekorok Airstrip and a 25-minute drive from Sekenani Main Gate.

    Bookings for JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge are now open with prices from US$1,450 per person, per night (all-inclusive board basis). For more information, visit contact Neil at Rewarding Travel, our associated agency which is an affiliate of Fora Travel Inc.

    Singita is the historical leader in this market, so it will be interesting to see how Marriott's new entrant will measure up.

    COMO Hotels & Resorts expects to add an address in Sydney’s CBD to its global collection within the next two years.. The hospitality and wellness specialist has 16 properties around the world in Bali, Thailand, Bhutan, Maldives, Tuscany, London, Turks & Caicos, Australia (COMO The Treasury in Perth) and the group’s most recent addition, Fiji’s Laucala Island, which joined the luxury stable 14 months ago.

    Representatives from COMO Hotels & Resorts have been travelling the country this week and last. Joining the delegation in Sydney from COMO’s HQ in Singapore was COMO’s Doris Goh, Vice President – Commercial. Goh offered insight on the brand to media, saying the Australian market was very important given its location to the bulk of COMO’s collection in Southeast Asia (three properties in Bali and two in both Thailand and Bhutan), the Maldives (two) and Fiji. She confirmed that Australian travellers were generating a significant share of business for COMO Laucala Island in Fiji. 

    Sydney on the radar for Como

    Domestically, COMO The Treasury has been part of the portfolio since its opening eight years ago in 2015. But when quizzed about further expansion in Australia and the potential of an asset on the east coast, Goh confirmed, “We’re looking at Sydney.” She said the NSW capital has been on the luxury hospitality company’s radar for some time.

    “It’s always been the vision of COMO’s Founder, Christina Ong, to be in key gateway locations,” Goh said during her whirlwind visit. Pressed for a potential timeline for a Sydney debut of either 12 or 24 months, she flagged the latter duration.

    Goh was tight-lipped on specific sites in Sydney, or if COMO had its eye on a take-over, restoration project or potential new build, or even a site inspection while she was in the country.

    She did however state that Ong, is “very hands-on when it comes to food, wellness and aesthetics” at the brand’s hotels, and any new choice of property would be “personally curated by herself along with her choice of designers.” Paola Navone of OTTO studio is one interior designer Ong has used on existing COMO projects, including COMO Castello del Nero in Tuscany, Italy; COMO Point Yamu in Phuket, Thailand; and her latest work at COMO Le Montrachet in Burgundy, France. 

    The name COMO itself is an acronym of the Founder’s initials and that of her daughter, Melissa Ong.

    Growth and expansion

    Announced in late 2021, COMO Le Montrachet will officially debut in June 2023 after a soft opening next month. The property, which dates back to 1842, is centered around a famous restaurant and an inn and will feature 30 rooms and suites. Nestled around the village square of Puligny-Montrachet (a village in the renowned wine region of Burgundy), the COMO Le Montrachet is spread across four heritage buildings that have been converted into chic sanctuaries. A COMO Shambhala Retreat is planned for the property in the future.

    Also in June, Podere San Filippo will debut near the 740-acre COMO Castello Del Nero’s estate. The historic farmhouse has been converted into a modern family residence with 12 large and contemporary apartments – a mix of one- to three-bedrooms, some of which offer outdoor patios.

    From 1 September 2023, COMO Hotels & Resorts will also “come home” to Singapore when COMO Metropolitan Singapore opens. Thirty years since the brand was last in the Lion City, the 150-room and suite property will feature Michelin Star restaurants, retail and fashion brands and a COMO Shambhala wellness facility. “At COMO Metropolitan Singapore, we are able to implement the entire ‘COMO Lifestyle’ – food and beverage, wellness, retail. It’ll be the first time we can bring it all together in one location,” she commented.

    Additionally, COMO is set to welcome a second property in Italy in the northern alps – complementing its Tuscan retreat – and building on the brand’s existing presence in the Dolomites where it operates the COMO Shambhala Spa. Set within the five-star Alpina Dolomites Lodge for the past year, the ski resort will reposition as COMO Alpina Dolomites from December 2023. Not just a winter playground, Goh said the 30-room and suite Italian mountain resort is just as popular during summer months when the property commands higher rates than winter. It also has a very strong repeat business of 50%. Alpina Dolomites is currently a member of Leading Hotels of the World. It will close for enhancements to bring it in line with COMO standards. Goh did emphaise that the upgrade will “ensure that we do not take away the nuances that guests are familiar with and love.”

    Further, Goh said the loyalty program of COMO Hotels & Resorts, COMOCLUB, is nearing the 1 million member mark. Now in it’s 29th year, COMOCLUB has over 800,000 members and has a “very engaged audience”, she said.

    Gabi Vincent, Director of Sales and Marketing for COMO The Treasury said the Perth address is focused on immersive experiences guests can engulf themselves in while on-site within the heritage building. Home to six restaurants, four bars and ten retailers, COMO The Treasury offers a number of activations and curated experiences annually, such as Artists in Residence and ‘COMO Conversations’, alongside spring and festive campaigns to name a few.

    To encourage more east-coasters to travel to the west for short breaks, COMO The Treasury partners with Ampersand Estates in Pemberton to coordinate five-night curated itineraries (two nights in Perth, three nights in the Margaret River region), to showcase the city and rural destinations.

    Vincent also revealed that Singapore is driving the return of international visitors to the property, and that events at COMO have now kicked into another gear after the COVID drought.

    More on COMO Hotels & Resorts at ...

    Marriott Bonvoy had a unique feature that allowed members to make an unlimited number of award reservations that were not backed up points in the accounts. Instead, you needed to have them 14 days before the intended stay. Under Bonvoy, the Points Advance has been devalued several times; the number of active award reservations without backed points was reduced to three, you needed to have the points within 60 days of making such a reservation or 14 days before the stay, and these reservations no longer locked in the points rates. 

    Now, Marriott Bonvoy is ending them altogether on March 28, 2023, citing low demand as a reason.  
    You can access Marriott Bonvoy here.  

    Important points to note:

    • Rest assured, Reservations booked using Points Advance prior to March 28, 2023 will be honored.
    • Remember, you must have the Points in your Account 60 days from the time of booking, or 14 days prior to arrival, whichever comes first. A Member may only have three (3) Points Advance Reservations at one time.

    What happens if I need to modify or cancel my Points Advance Reservation between now and March 28, 2023?    
    Prior to March 28, 2023, you may cancel or modify your Points Advance Reservations (e.g. change the dates or location, if available). You can modify or cancel your Points Advance Reservation in your Account profile on or the Marriott Bonvoy® Mobile App.

    What happens if I need to modify or cancel my Points Advance reservation after March 28, 2023?    
    Cancellation of the Points Advance Reservation is allowed, but always subject to the cancellation policy tied to the Reservation. If you are modifying the Reservation dates after March 28, 2023, it cannot rebooked as a Points Advance Reservation, only as a paid Stay.


    Many Marriott Rewards members loved this program feature, because you could lock in the points reservations year in advance while planning your trips and firm them up or cancel closer to the intended stay while earning the required points.

    Some members abused the feature, locking out other members from booking unti the last minute then cancelling unwanted trips. This led to changes limiting the number of active Points Advance reservations you can have at any one time.  The death knell though was more likely the move to dynamic pricing.  Reserving a room without knowing how many points you will need to redeem until using the booking was always going to lead to low demand among program members. All it did was signal demand to Marriott which would encourage a rise in rates (without the benfit of having locked in your own rate - better to delay the booking until certain.

    I'm not surprised to see this option canned by Marriott. Far more useful is the cash + points feature which remains available - read more in our Guide to Marriott Bonvoy.

    Capella Sydney Opening Date Confirmed - book while you still can!

    Capella Sydney Opening Date Confirmed - book while you still can!

    Further to our post of 30 October 2022, Capella Sydney, the first Australian property in the Capella Hotels and Resorts portfolio, is now accepting reservations for arrivals beginning 15 March 2023.

    It is the newest 5-star hotel in the Sydney CBD and includes 192 guestrooms (such as the one pictured) and suites, anchored by three ground-level food and beverage outlets: Aperture, Brasserie 1930 and McRae Bar.  . 

    For travellers unfamiliar with this luxury brand, “The Capella brand is synonymous with luxury, excellence in the craft of hospitality and cultural immersion. Capella Sydney takes this to the next level through unparalleled experiences that go above and beyond the expected, underscored by world-class accommodation and dining,” said Marc von Arnim, Capella Sydney’s General Manager.

    The beautifully appointed guestrooms and suites are replete with deluxe textiles, standalone tubs, custom Italian Frette linen and exclusive Haeckels amenities. Guestrooms at Capella Sydney offer an abundance of space, volume and natural light. Starting at 46 square metres, each room features curated artwork, sumptuous furnishings and intriguing objet d’art complete with luxurious pillow-top beds fitted with custom Italian Frette linen and exclusive Haeckel’s amenities

    The  guestrooms start from AU$530 per night (Superior rooms - 46 square metres), while the uppermost jewel, the 235-square-metre Capella Suite on the ninth floor, boasts the largest offering in the portfolio, starting from AU$6,430 per night.  

    To make a booking for this gorgeous new property in the heart of Sydney, contact our associated Travel Advisor, Neil McPherson at Rewarding Travel, and ask what perks he may be able to add to make your stay even more special.

    Bonvoy Members to Earn Less For Africa Stays

    Bonvoy Members to Earn Less For Africa Stays

    Marriott recently announced some bad news to Bonvoy members planning to stay in Africa.

    As of March 1, 2023, Marriott Bonvoy members will only earn 5X points at Protea Hotels (joining the other brands of Homes & Villas, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, and Element) and 1 Elite Night Credit for every 2 nights stayed. Here are the details of this change. 

    Protea Hotels by Marriott

    Marriott acquired Protea Hotels in 2013. As of 2023, Protea operates 64 properties spread across 9 countries in Africa — primarily South Africa, but also in  Algeria, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Marriott advertises Protea Hotels as mid-range, 4 to 5-star properties. 

    Marriott's Reduction of the Earning Rate of Protea Hotels 

    Until now, Marriott Bonvoy members earned the usual 10 points per dollar spent and 1 Elite Night Credit per night at Protea Hotels. As of March 1, 2023, those earnings will be cut in half.

    Bonvoy members will only earn 5 points per dollar spent. Elite Night Credits will only be given for every two nights stayed. In other words, half an Elite Night Credit per night.

    These changes go into effect on March 1, 2023. The change will be based on the checkout date, not on the booking date. In other words, every stay with a checkout date on or after March 1 will receive half rewards — regardless of when you booked

    This certainly isn't good news for Marriott Bonvoy members looking to stay at Protea properties in Africa after March 1, 2023.  

    Hopefully t his is not the beginning of a devaluation for Marriott Bonvoy points across several brands (again).

    200 Meliá Hotels Receive 2023 Traveller Review Awards

    200 Meliá Hotels Receive 2023 Traveller Review Awards

    Meliá Hotels International has had another successful year in the Traveller Review Awards.

    More than 200 of the company’s hotels have been rewarded this year for their exceptional performance and for having achieved a satisfaction rating above 8 in the reviews made by thousands of customers on The award winners include hotels from all over the world and from all of the different company brands.

    Among the more than 200 hotels, some of the company’s most luxurious properties achieved the highest scores, along with some of the most outstanding of the recently opened hotels: ME Barcelona, a new icon for luxury hotels in one of the most popular cities in Spain, and Villa Le Blanc, a Gran Meliá Hotel, which has revolutionised the luxury resort segment in Menorca by becoming the first carbon-neutral hotel in the destination.

    Other luxury hotels operated by the company performed well, including the Meliá Serengeti Lodge, Member of Meliá Collection (Tanzania), located in one of the most stunning natural environments in the world and with an approach to sustainability which has helped it earn the highest score among all the company’s hotels.

    Other strong performers include the Gran Meliá Iguazu (Argentina), which offers a luxurious experience with views of one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, and the Gran Meliá Xi’an, one of the luxury hotels the company operates in China.

    The Meliá Hotels & Resorts brand achieved high scores with both its city and resort hotels in Asia: Meliá Ho Tram Beach Resort (Vietnam), Meliá Vinpearl Hue (Vietnam) and Meliá Chiang Mai (Thailand).

    Among other hotels operated under other brands that have achieved outstanding scores are: INNSIDE Liverpool (UK) and INNSIDE Lima Miraflores (Peru), Paradisus Los Cabos and Paradisus Playa del Carmen (Mexico), Sol Beach House Ibiza (Spain) and Sol Oasis Marrakech (Morocco).

    If you would like to stay at an award-winning hotels mentioned above, you can discuss with pur associated Travel Advisors booking with one of the brands of Meliá.. Meliá have properties in Asia, Europe and the Americas. They also have a loyalty program -  learn more about how it may benefit you in our comprehensive Guide to Meliá Rewards.

    Jumeirah Expands Presence in Europe with Key Acquisition in Geneva

    Jumeirah Expands Presence in Europe with Key Acquisition in Geneva

    Jumeirah Group, the global luxury hospitality company, today announced the acquisition of its first property in Switzerland as it continues its growth trajectory and international expansion.

    The flagship property - Le Richemond - was founded in 1875 and is located on the banks of Lake Geneva in a prime location at the heart of the city’s business district and a short walk from the city’s luxury designer boutiques.

    Jumeirah’s new property in Geneva is its fifth in Europe, joining The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, and Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in London, UK; Capri Palace Jumeirah on the island of Capri, Italy; and Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa in Mallorca, Spain. Jumeirah Group, which originated in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, has a portfolio of 26 hotels and resorts across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. .

    The art deco property with its charm and grandeur has been a popular destination for well-known personalities throughout the years. The hotel features 87 rooms and 22 suites, boasting stunning views across Lac Léman and the mountain peaks of Mont Blanc.

    The property will undergo extensive renovations, which will commence as soon as possible, to reposition and elevate the guest experience to a level consistent with Jumeirah’s brand expectations. Jumeirah plans to introduce its signature wellness and fitness concepts and will also focus on bringing its culinary expertise to the banks of Lake Geneva.

    The move signals Jumeirah’s appetite for investment in key cities that support the diversification of its portfolio and build brand equity as a globally recognised luxury hotel operator. Geneva, as a thriving city, synonymous with luxury living, a strong international business community and a robust high-end tourism sector, will support Jumeirah’s vision to become one of the world’s top five luxury hotel brands.

    Meliá Hotels ranked as the most sustainable company in the world in the category of Hotels, Resorts and Cruises.

    Meliá Hotels ranked as the most sustainable company in the world in the category of Hotels, Resorts and Cruises.

    After the recent assessment by S&P Global ESG – the most comprehensive and prestigious international sustainability performance analysis, which evaluates more than 10,000 companies from all over the world –  Meliá Hotels International, has once again been ranked as the most sustainable company in the world in the category of Hotels, Resorts and Cruises.

    Meliá has achieved the top position in both the Social and the Economic and Governance dimensions, and particularly high scores in such important areas as climate strategy, human rights, human capital development and customer relations.

    As Meliá says."our passion inspires us to respond to the global challenges faced by our planet and continue to move forward to offer you an increasingly more sustainable experience in our hotels".

    If sustainability is impotant to you, booking with one of the brands of Meliá is highly worthy of your consideration. Meliá have properties in Asia, Europe and the Americas. They also have a loyalty program -  learn more about how it may benefit you in our comprehensive Guide to Meliá Rewards.

    2023 hotel openings - our "can't wait to stay" list

    2023 hotel openings - our "can't wait to stay" list

    Exciting New Properties Opening in 2023

    There are many brands opening new properties globally this year, as the worst of the global pandemic may be behind us. This is our ” bakers dozen” list of properties opening in 2023 that we are super excited about and can barely wait to book, listed in geographic regions.  With most of these, booking through Rewarding Travel can provide you with luxury perks (eg daily breakfast, room upgrade st availability...) at no additional cost.

    It’s going to be a busy year…

    1.  Raffles London at The OWO (2Q 2023)
    An architectural masterpiece, the Old War Office on Whitehall (OWO) is undergoing a meticulous restoration to create the Raffles’s first UK hotel.  OWO dates back to 1906 and is famed for housing influential leaders. These include Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and John Profumo. It also inspired Ian Fleming to write the James Bond series after working here as a key liaison.
    The landmark building has undergone a monumental transformation and now features 120 lavish guestrooms and suites, 85 spectacular private residences, 9 ultra-stylish restaurants and 3 bars, bars including one gracing the rooftop with views across The Mall on to Buckingham Palace.

     An exclusive Guerlain spa and member’s health club (a 20-metre indoor swimming pool, saunas and steam rooms ) by movement and nutrition experts Pillar will offer private memberships for locals in the know.

    2. The Peninsula, London (May 2023)
    Swish Hong Kong hotel group Peninsula – famed for its Rolls-Royce fleets, crisp-suited bellboys and want-for-nothing service – is finally landing in London. Located at one of the most prestigious addresses in the British capital, overlooking Hyde Park Corner and the Wellington Arch, The Peninsula London is bringing the best of British – culture, art, and cuisine – to this new build in Belgravia.

    Expect Peninsua’s usual sleek and understated elegance in each of its 190 rooms, while several destination restaurants, a Peninsula Spa (including a 25m indoor pool ) and a grand ballroom are also on-site. The Peninsula London also features a one-storey shopping arcade, with nine retail shops housing international luxury brands keeping luxury style very close at this new central London location.

     3. Mandarin Oriental. Mayfair (2Q 2023)
    The luxury hotel chain is expanding its presence in London with the opening of Mandarin Oriental Mayfair, London providing a smaller, more intimate sister property to the award-winning Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in nearby Knightsbridge. Situated on Hanover Square, Mayfair’s oldest square, the hotel will provide a calming, discreet sanctuary for hotel guests.

    The property comprises 50 guestrooms and 78 private residences in the heart of Mayfair, one of London's most stylish neighbourhoods. Taking advantage of its world-class location within walking distance of London's admired fashion houses on Bond Street and the boutiques of Saville Row, as well as art galleries, the new hotel will offer guests and Fans of MO ( its loyalty program ) exclusive access and experiences from high fashion to art, culture, and dining. It will also house the first namesake Akira Back restaurant in the UK from Michelin Star award winning Chef Akira Back, as well as his 'ABar Lounge' concept. There will also be an urban spa, focussed on renewal and recalibration, featuring an indoor 25-metre swimming pool, sauna, vitality pool, relaxation room and a myriad of bespoke wellness treatments.

    4. Adagio London Whitechapel (Late 2023)
    For guests who desire the helpful services of a hotel and the freedom to live like a local in a neighbourhood apartment, Adagio offers an easy balance of both. Designed for longer stays, the 147 serviced apartments conveniently located on Whitechapel Road in East London will provide one or two-bedroom apartments, complete with kitchens.

    5. 100 Princes Street  Edinburgh (August 2023)
    Red Carnation Hotels’ group first Scottish property is to be 100 Princes Street, whose name is a nod to their illustrious address on one of Edinburgh’s most famous streets. The interiors – designed by the team behind Ashford Castle in Ireland – will be full-blown Scottish chic with custom-made tartan by Araminta Campbell, roaring fires and a central staircase with a hand-painted mural of Scottish explorers by Croxford and Saunders restoring the former Overseas League building to its former glory. There’ll be just 30 guest rooms, some looking to Edinburgh castle, and a staff ratio of 2:1, so you know service will be a priority.

    6. Six Senses Rome (March 2023)
    For their new Rome hotel, Six Senses painstakingly restored parts of a Roman 15th-century compound, including the exterior Renaissance facade and interior staircase. Architect Patricia Urquiola is masterminding the interiors - guest rooms feature traditional cocciopesto plasterwork, locally-sourced travertine limestones, and sun-drenched terraces. Located steps from the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain, overlooking via del Corso, it is a great place to rest after a long day exploring the city. They currently have an opening offer, valid until 30th of April:- 15% off best flexible rate.- Includes: breakfast, upgrade upon availability, a welcome drink, use of Roman Baths, Sleep questionnaire, bedding and sleep tracker and access to their Earth Lab. From Deluxe Suite onwards receive a one-way Airport transfer as well and a 20-minute skin instant lab. Contact RewardingTravel for more details.

    7. Bulgari, Rome
    The eternal city’s hotel scene is seeing an injection of fresh style with new branches of Nobu Hotels and Six Senses, plus the boutique ROMEO, in a 16th century palazzo. But top of our must-visit list for OTT luxury is Bulgari Rome. This Italian brand owns hotels as far afield as Shanghai and Bali, but finally opens its flagship on home city turf this coming spring or summer. Set in a 1930s modernist building dripping in travertine marble and red brick, it’s sure to be the epitome of more-is-more Bulgari style with warm jewel tones, fabulous artwork and unashamedly luxurious suites.

    8.  Anantara Grand Hotel Convento di Amalfi. (April 2023)
    Following extensive restoration and renovation works, the heritage hotel – occupying a 13th-century monastery and former Cappuccini Friars Convent – will be restored to its original glory. The historic 52 guest room and suite  property will reveal new-look accommodation, refreshed dining concepts and a completely redesigned spa, all perched on a clifftop 80 metres above sea level with spectacular views of the Mediterranean Coast.

    9. Maison Delano Paris (Early 2023)

    Located in the heart of the ultra-chic 8th Arrondissement, Maison Delano Paris is an oasis within the bustling city. Occupying an 18th century courtyard building at 4 Rue d’Anjou, this is a place to experience exceptional and exclusive culinary concepts by three-star Michelin Chef Dani García, a fresh perspective on wellness and hyper-exclusive curated moments.

    10. COMO Le Montrachet (2Q 2023)
    Fine wine plus a fine spa – what else do you need? Launching in picturesque Burgundian village Puligny-Montrachet , COMO Le Montrachet is the latest (and first French) property in the wellness-focused COMO resort group is a celebration of life’s good things. Spread across four 18th century stone buildings, serene contemporary suites will channel pure Gallic serenity; meanwhile the Shambala Retreat spa will turn out deep tissue massages and hydrating facials. The restaurant will come with a superb Burgundian wine list, of course. Prefer spirits? Look instead to another exciting French opening: La Nauve, a former cognac distillery turned hotel near the Charente river.  Teasingly Olivier Jolivet, CEO of the COMO Group has said that “ Besides Europe, we will also add a new luxury resort in the South Pacific to the portfolio next year.”  (ie 2024)
    The COMO Group is an international privately-owned company with long-term investments in the world of fashion, wellness, high-level sports and luxury hotels. The group also supports its philanthropic mission through the COMO Foundation. Its subsidiary, COMO Hotels and Resorts, includes 14 international properties. Destinations in APAC include Bali, the Maldives, Bhutan, Thailand and Australia. In the Americas, the group own and operate a private island in the Turks and Caicos. In Europe, The COMO Group operates two city hotels in London and a resort in Tuscany.

    11. The Standard, Singapore (late 2023)
    Opening right off Singapore’s famed Orchard Road is the Standard Singapore, which aims to enhance the city’s already vibrant cultural scene with its buzzy, night-life-focused brand. In addition to their 143 rooms will be a signature restaurant, an infinity pool, and a bar set within a botanical courtyard. The Standard prides itself on shaking up the establishment and defying convention to deliver a unique experience. The company says its careful consideration of design, detail and service has allowed it to "cultivate a reputation for irreverent and playful sensibility".

    12. Capella Sydney (March 2023)
    The first property for Capella Hotels and Resorts to open in Australia will be housed in a magnificent heritage-listed sandstone building, centrally located just a short walk from the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge Capella Sydney is all about contemporary luxury balanced with the historical Edwardian-Baroque features – grand soaring ceilings, marble-clad foyer – with contemporary design, international art and 70 species of local floral on a seven-metre-tall ‘green wall’ of this 100-year-old building. Guests will also be granted access to the private Living Room – a signature of Capella properties across the world. Here, local pros or Capella Culturists will be on hand to organise guest activities both in and outside the hotel.

    Over eight levels, 192 guest rooms and suites feature walnut wood, natural stones and deluxe textiles with standalone tubs, custom Italian Frette linen and Haeckel’s amenities in the bathroom. Three ground-level bars and restaurants include Brasserie 1930 and McRae Bar is a modern rendition of a Victorian-era drinking den. On level six is an Aruga spa, fitness centre, yoga platform and 20-metre heated indoor swimming pool. While the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge are all within walking distance.

    13. The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne (March 2023)
    At the Ritz-Carlton Melbourne, which promises to be Australia’s tallest hotel, check-in happens at the Sky Lobby, 80 floors above the city. All of the hotel’s high-rise rooms, spread across levels 63 to 79, will have stunning views of the city and Port Phillip Bay. 

     A sharp eye for design, and two highly respected chefs are set to be the calling cards of Australia's latest Ritz-Carlton, delivering local, seasonal and cutting-edge cuisine across the luxury hotel's culinary offering. The restaurant will sit a cool 80 floors above the CBD alongside the lobby, and below it will lie a holistic wellness spa that includes a heated indoor infinity pool, spa, sauna and yoga studio.  The 257 carefully appointed rooms will feature interiors with custom leather and velvet furniture, handmade glass panels and marble bathrooms with art works by local artists gracing the walls.

    Exciting Renovated Properties that will Re-Open in 2023

    Not quite "new" but having had significant renovations or refurbishments, these half-dozen properties are also on our list. 

    1.  The Dorchester: London

    The Dorchester has been a London icon for the last 90 years, and now it's slated to debut its largest renovation since the '80s next year. French designer Pierre-Yves Rochon is redesigning the hotel's entrance, promenade, guest rooms and suites, along with a new Cake & Flower boutique. The legendary Martin Brudnizki Design Studio is redesigning the famous cocktail bar, which is now dubbed Vesper Bar.

    2.  The Royce Hotel, Melbourne (4Q 2023)
    What do you want from your next trip to Melbourne: a culture hit or a dose of nature? At The Royce, sitting on the border of the CBD and South Yarra’s parklands, you can enjoy both. This 1920s gem is being restored to its art deco glory, complete with a 14-metre high marble fireplace in the lobby lounge and a two-metre wide chandelier. The name pays tribute to its former roles as Rolls Royce (Australia) HQ and major showroom.  
    The latest refurbishment, which aims to immerse guests in glamour with its 94 guest rooms, a marble staircase and fireplace, 24-hour concierge, and a swanky bar. In the rooms, freestanding baths, Molton Brown amenities and botanical wallpaper will round out this trendy South Yarra spot.

    3.  Le Meridien Melbourne (early 2023)
    From its Bourke Street perch, Le Meridien Melbourne will bring a touch of French flair to the theatre district. Expect plenty of surprises behind the art deco façade including an immersive arts program, house-made gelato and a dazzling rooftop pool deck with views looking over Parliament House towards Fitzroy Gardens.  The Parliament end of Bourke Street will welcome back Le Méridien to Australian shores. Originally built as a hotel in the 1850s before going through lives as a cinema, nightclub and theatre, the building will return to its origins as a hotel for the first time in decades. The 235-room hotel is set to have expansive views over the Royal Botanic Gardens along with a rooftop pool deck.

    4.  Fairmont Port Douglas
    Port Douglas is where the rainforest meets the reef and luxury brand Fairmont promises that its new Port Douglas resort will immerse guests in the area’s spectacular nature.enabling them to  connect with nature amidst eco-friendly luxury.  Expect organic architecture, a treetop walk, and butterfly nets above the children’s swimming pool, as well as an operating philosophy focused on sustainability.

    5.  Manly Pacific, Sydney
    A seaside favourite gets a new lease of life courtesy of the MGallery Hotel Collection and designers Coco Republic, who have given Manly’s best-located hotel (right on the foreshore)  a five-star makeover. Apart from the spa and the rooftop pool, highlights include a French bistro and Tokyo Joe restaurant, featuring sushi, sashimi and more courtesy of an ex-Nobu chef..

    6.  W Sydney (October 2023)
    Darling Harbour’s distinctive new development has already attracted plenty of attention for its eye-catching architecture. It will become even more of a landmark once W Sydney opens with all the modern pizzazz of the W brand . With 585 stylish guest rooms and suites occupying 25 floors with spectacular Darling Harbour views and interiors inspired by the waterfront location (think powder blue tiles and deep circular tubs and stunning Sydney views) we expect this will be one of the city’s buzziest hotels. 
    Forming part of the development that includes an IMAX theatre and a retail wing. W Sydney features a two-storey rooftop bar, Level 29 WET® Deck with a heated 30m infinity pool, AWAY® Spa, FIT gym, all-day restaurant, Living Room bar, 1300sqm of event space and direct access to Darling Harbour waterfront precinct, and links across Cockle Bay and Sydney’s International Convention Centre (ICC).). .

    The Standard Melbourne confirmed on track for June 2023 opening

    The Standard Melbourne confirmed on track for June 2023 opening

    Speaking recently with Rowan Hand VP Global Sales for Standard International, he confirmed that the timing for the opening of The Standard Melbourne in Fitzroy's hip Rose Street remains on track for June 2023.

    The Standard, Fitzroy will come to life as a 127-room hotel built over seven levels (including a rooftop bar), with design cues inspired heavily by the local area and its long-standing industrial heritage.

    The Standard prides itself on shaking up the establishment and defying convention to deliver a unique experience. The company says its careful consideration of design, detail and service has allowed it to "cultivate a reputation for irreverent and playful sensibility".

    The Standard is also a pet-friendly group of hotels.  So depending on your preferred vibe, you can choose to book your stays with either Kimpton or The Standard properties and know that you pet will be made very welcome (read "pampered").

    See also our post of 4 August 2022, when we first brought this news to our readers.

    The first Hyatt hotel to open its doors in Scotland announced on Burns Night 2023

    The first Hyatt hotel to open its doors in Scotland announced on Burns Night 2023

    Fittingly on Burns Night,Hyatt has announced the opening of SCHLOSS Roxburghe (pictured), marking the debut of the Destination by Hyatt brand in the United Kingdom. 

    “As the first Hyatt hotel to open its doors in Scotland and the 14th property in the UK, this immersive country retreat reflects the growing demand from World of Hyatt members and guests for discovery-filled experiences in some of Britain’s most sought-after locations,” said Arnaud de Saint-Exupery, area vice president of Hyatt in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

    Just a few miles from the scenic market town of Kelso, and an hour from Edinburgh and Newcastle, SCHLOSS Roxburghe raises the bar on luxury for travellers seeking a tranquil, rural escape in Scotland. In keeping with the brand’s ambition to build a distinct portfolio of luxury properties that connect guests with people, cultures and places, the property capitalizes on the growing demand from travelers seeking to escape their daily routine in style. The extensive range of amenities across SCHLOSS Roxburghe’s 300 acres of scenic countryside gives guests a true sense of place.

    Formerly owned by the Duke of Roxburghe, the elegant countryside retreat offers a total of 78 guestrooms and suites, all within or nearby the historic manor house and The Estate House. Looking ahead, the property is set to introduce 50 additional cottages, planned to be available to guests early in 2023.

    Located in the beautiful woodlands on the SCHLOSS Roxburghe estate, surrounded by wildlife and right next to the golf course, each of the 12 cottages benefits from having additional living space, fitted kitchens and furnished garden terraces. These additional amenities allow guests the added flexibility to appreciate and take advantage of the hotel’s services while having the option enjoy to an intimate dining experience provided by the property or themselves in the privacy within their own home-away-from-home.

    Featuring striking high ceilings and decorated with a combination of Scottish tartans, the 20 guestrooms and suites located inside and adjacent to the historic main house feature oak wood, natural stone, and sumptuous textiles. These beautifully furnished rooms are each unique in character and highlight the eternal beauty and history of the time-honored building.

    Extravagant fittings and fixtures such as four-poster beds and private balconies can be found within The Estate House. Offering some of the finest views of the estate, these 58 additional guestrooms are spacious and flooded with light, providing stylish, yet modern comfort in the most enchanting of settings.

    Guests in all accommodation categories are able to take full advantage of the wealth of facilities across the stately grounds.

    An oasis of calm

    The 12,000 square foot (1,100 square meter) SCHLOSS Spa is a first-class wellbeing facility which includes an outdoor heated infinity swimming pool, complete with an underwater sound system. It is accompanied by a plunge pool and hot tub, allowing guests to truly soak up the hotel’s serene atmosphere.

    To further set the stage for guests to dive into the estate’s natural beauty while pampering their soul, the large, 6,400 square foot (600 square meter) relaxation area features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the landscaped grounds and rolling views toward the Scottish Borders.

    For the ultimate indulgence, three treatment rooms ensure guests can take full advantage of the soothing range of natural treatments available. The luxury spa also offers a fully equipped fitness suite plus a rustic Finnish dry sauna and a glass-fronted aromatic sauna, both with pool views.

    The great outdoors

    In addition to a myriad of scenic walking trails, the dog-friendly facilities also include extensive outdoor pursuits, ensuring anyone staying at SCHLOSS Roxburghe is perfectly placed to take full advantage of the unspoiled countryside.

    Capitalizing on its enviable surroundings, the property boasts its own Country Sports Centre, ideal for those interested in tapping into the wealth of more adventurous activities on their doorstep. From salmon fishing along the River Teviot to field sports such as archery and clay pigeon shooting, the venue’s expert team will help unleash guests’ competitive sides in one of Scotland’s most spectacular settings.

    The hotel also offers an 18-hole championship golf course that maximizes the landscape’s natural topography, embedded amongst glorious rivers and mature woodlands, providing an enjoyable and challenging game for golfers of every level.

    Upscale Food and Beverage Experiences

    Guests and local residents alike have two on-site gastronomic experiences alongside a tearoom and various lounges to choose from, each serving up a modern twist on traditional Scottish cuisine. These include Charlie’s restaurant, with its curated ‘Scottish bistronomy’ themed menu and terrace, and the cosmopolitan, fine cuisine of Sunlaws. The Drawing Room, meanwhile, provides the perfect spot for a sumptuous afternoon tea.

    Under the guidance of Executive Head Chef Olivier Borja and the vision of the hotel’s culinary director Mark Drummond, the gourmet menus prioritize fresh, local produce to help elevate the hotel’s culinary experience. Having studied catering in the Scottish Borders before working his way up the ranks in prestigious London establishments, Drummond is perfectly placed to provide guests with a truly memorable dining experience. Key to showcasing the local area and delivering a modern twist on traditional Scottish fare will be SCHLOSS Roxburghe’s ‘Estate to plate’ philosophy, with many ingredients grown within the hotel’s own grounds

    Guests also have a wide choice of places to enjoy a relaxing beverage while taking in the spectacular views across the grounds. Whether pulling up a stool at Bar 1745 – the sophisticated and cozy library bar with a roaring open fire – or enjoying a fine wine in the fire-lit State Room Lounge, there are plenty of opportunities to relax in style.

    The property’s purpose-built banqueting suite and extensive meetings facilities also make the hotel an unforgettable choice for weddings and conferences alike.

    What is Destination by Hyatt ?

    Hyatt says that "the Destination by Hyatt brand is a diverse collection of independent hotels, resorts and residences that are individual at heart yet connected by a commitment to embody the true spirit of each location. Ranging from upper-upscale to luxury, each property is purposefully crafted to be a place of immersive discoveries, authentic design, and warm and welcoming service. As an honored host, each Destination by Hyatt location connects guests to both people and place—offering a sense of belonging that invites all to make our destination yours"

    Bonvoy adds ability to convert Krisflyer Miles to Bonvoy Points

    Bonvoy adds ability to convert Krisflyer Miles to Bonvoy Points

    KrisFlyer have announced that you can now convert points and miles between both programs. While you have been able to convert your Marriott points to Singapore miles for a long time, the ability to transfer your Singapore miles to Marriott points is new.

    The new two-way conversion ability is a new trend from Marriott and seems to be aimed at enhancing the value of their points and program. However, the conversion rates leave a lot to be desired.

    You can currently convert points and miles between both programs as follows:

    • from Singapore KrisFlyer Miles to Marriott Bonvoy points at a ratio of 2:1.
    • from Marriott Bonvoy points to Singapore KrisFlyer miles at a ratio of 3:1.

    This news is the second one in a short period of time after Marriott just recently announced new two-way transfers between its program and Korean Air SkyPass. Perhaps this will be a Marriott trend for 2023, but we will have to wait and see if more programs will follow.

    Marriott Two-way Conversion Partners

    The following programs now offer two-way conversion between themselves and Marriott Bonvoy.
    Cathay Pacific Asia Miles 2:1
    HawaiianMiles 2:1
    Korean Air SkyPass 2:1
    Singapore KrisFlyer 2:1
    United Mileage Plus (Premier status members only) 1:1 

    Is Transferring Marriott Points to Singapore KrisFlyer Miles Good Value?

    In short  No.

    Our redemption value for Singapore KrisFlyer miles is USD 24.90 per 1,000 miles. On the other hand, we value Marriott Bonvoy points at USD 10 per 1,000 points.

    At a transfer ratio of 2:1, you would exchange around USD 49.80 worth of Singapore miles for USD 10 worth of Marriott Bonvoy points. This is a clearly not a good idea!

    On the other hand, transfers from Marriott to Singapore at a ratio of 3:1can make more sense.   In effect, you would exchange around USD 30 worth of Marriott points value for USD 24.90 worth of Singapore miles value. Although this seems like a bit of a loss, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer offers some excellent award options that could make it worthwhile, especially for aspirational awards on Singapore Airlines' own planes.

    When Should You Convert Singapore KrisFlyer Miles to Marriott Bonvoy Points ?

    There are a couple of instances when converting your KrisFlyer miles to Marriott Bonvoy points can make sense.

     *  Singapore miles expire after 36 months, and you cannot extend their validity without paying a hefty fee. Therefore if you have a bunch of miles that are about to expire and don’t want to use them or hand over the cash, transferring them can be an excellent get-out.

    *  Another option is if you are a few Marriott points short of a redemption and need to boost your balance. Although transferring a few thousand Singapore miles works out as a loss, it is still valuable if it lets you hit an aspirational award. Just make sure you exhaust your other options first, as you  also transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy at a ratio of 1:1. There have been transfer bonus offers in the past, so you might be able to get an even better transfer rate during one of these promotions.


    The news that you can convert Singapore KrisFlyer miles to Marriott Bonvoy points is a welcome. if minor enhancement. as it gives members more options to use their points. It's always nice to gain the flexibility to ytsmsfer your points from one program to another — even in circumstances mainly limited to the need to top up an account or avoid point expiration.

    Small Luxury hotels of the World (SLH) is holding a fantastic sale for its SLH Invited members -save 30% on stays at over 160 luxurious properties, including locations such as: 
    United Kingdom
    South Africa.

    Pictured is a seafront villa of Elounda Gulf  Villas, one of the properties in Greece that is participating in the sale.

    Stays must be completed by 31 December 2023.  Other T&C's also apply..

    Best be quick.  The sale closes 4 January 2023 !

    SLH's Considerate Collection Celebrates its First Birthday

    SLH's Considerate Collection Celebrates its First Birthday

    How time flies...

    Just over a year ago, SLH launched the Considerate Collection with 25 founding members of pioneering properties, proving that luxury is compatible with longevity.

    Environmentally-minded travel agents (like Rewarding Travel) can browse and book from a biodiversity-promoting portfolio of boutique stays around the world, which have been hand-picked to help you find your perfect eco-escape.  

    These properties still need to pass the SLH Quality Assurance standards required by all SLH properties, so you can be assured that the sustainability does not sacrifice luxe.  You can read more about how these standards are measured and maintained in our Complete Guide To SLH Invited.

    As of this month, the collection celebrates 43 hotels (almost doubling in size) along with almost 40,000 trees planted in collaboration with TreeSisters.

    The SLH Considerate Collection has also introduced a first-of-its-kind partnership with new sustainability platform Weeva, and a collaboration with luxury amenities brand VANITY GROUP.

    SLH is one of our preferred groups and with the Considerate Collection, your stay will leave the softest of footprints on our planet.
    The properties within the Considerate Collection are stunning, so contact Rewarding Travel to learn more for your next sustainable, luxe stay - with free perks !

    Luxury hotel brand Capella comes to Sydney - opening March 2023

    Luxury hotel brand Capella comes to Sydney - opening March 2023

    Luxury hotel group Capella Hotels and Resorts will open Capella Sydney (pictured) in March 2023.

    The luxury hotel will be located at the heart of Sydney’s newest retail and hospitality precinct, Quay Quarter - a short walk to Circular Quay ferries, Sydney Opera House, the historic Rocks precinct and a wide range of dining options.

    The historic Department of Education building is being transformed into a space like no other. Inspired by the stories of the sandstone building’s past, the restored hotel is a balance between old and new.

    Capella Sydney celebrates its magnificent surroundings and respects the traditions of the building, mingled with contemporary design flair. Paying homage to Sydney’s local culture, guests can find touches of the Harbour City throughout the hotel – from the signature restaurant, Brasserie 1930’s modern art décor, McRae Bar, a reinterpretation of Australia in the 1920s, to a 20-metre swimming pool positioned under a large heritage lantern skylight. and an award-winning Auriga Spa

    Being a low-rise building, views of the Opera House and Harbour aren't available, but the 192 spacious rooms and suites are gorgeous and will suit anyone with an eye for design.

    Capella participates in the GHA Discovery loyalty program. Learn more about how to best use GHA Discovery.

    Select Capella properties (Bangkok, Ubud in Bali, Shanghai, Singapore and Maldives) participate in the Virtuoso program, of which our associated travel agency is a member.  

    We are hoping that Capella Sydney will join this prestigious list so that we will then be able to add complimentary perks to stays booked through Rewarding Travel.

    Six Senses wins award for Best Luxury Hotel Brand from LTI - 3rd year in a row

    Six Senses wins award for Best Luxury Hotel Brand from LTI - 3rd year in a row

    Luxury Travel Intelligence (LTI) has taken the past 12 months to apply a rigorously defined algorithm that measures the performance and values of luxury hotel brands.

    Six Senses has taken the top spot for the 3rd consecutive year for its ability to deliver, “passion, commitment, ethos and values, as well as the quality of its management and staff.”

    The algorithm has 128 touch points relevant to the luxury hotel sector. Each has its own weighted score value with a total maximum accumulative score of 4628. They relate to overall brand performance, not the performance of individual properties. Continuing investment and how it’s used is also a major factor – particularly for new properties and the refurbishment of existing ones.

    To make its decision, LTI researchers engage with everyone from the CEO to the management, hosts, and guests. Every year, the process starts again so the results from previous years have no bearing on the following year and therefore reflect what is happening within the dynamic hospitality sector. This is all part of the process for creating destination-led reports for the organization’s members, who wish to make informed travel decisions based on its honest and detailed intelligence.

    On awarding Six Senses World’s Best Luxury Hotel Brand, LTI noted, “We continue to be very impressed with Six Senses. It delivers an authentic blend of wellness, sustainability, warm hospitality and crafted guest experiences. Also, with Six Senses London and Rome due in 2023 this is an exciting time for the brand and its loyal followers.”

    Responding to the award, Six Senses CEO Neil Jacobs credited the whole team, “Six Senses hosts take a bow! To win this award three times in a row reflects everyone’s unwavering commitment over three bumpy years and across our entire group. We take a proactive role in sustainable well-being, whether that means for our guests, hosts, or the land and communities around us. But for it to work, it has to be honest and championed with care. Perhaps this authenticity is what guests appreciate the most.”

    Six Senses is one our preferred resorts and spa/wellness brands.  It has long had a focus on bare-foot luxury with sustainability, so this success comes as no surprise to us.  It is well-deserved.

    Some properties participate in the IHG One Rewards loyalty program - that alone may be sufficient reason to sign-up as a member. 

    USA Today Names Wyndham Rewards "Best Hotel Loyalty Program" for 5th Consecutive Year

    USA Today Names Wyndham Rewards "Best Hotel Loyalty Program" for 5th Consecutive Year

    Wyndham Rewards®, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts' guest rewards program spanning more than 50,000 hotels, vacation club resorts and vacation rentals globally, has once again been named best hotel loyalty program in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards.

    The accolades mark the fifth consecutive year Wyndham Rewards has taken the top spot in the Best Hotel Loyalty Program category. Nominees in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards are compiled by a panel of industry experts, and winners are chosen based on daily voting from USA TODAY readers over a four-week period.

    "Designed to be both simple and generous, Wyndham Rewards celebrates and champions the everyday traveler, offering more value, more flexibility and more redemption opportunities than virtually any other hotel program in the world," said Lisa Checchio, chief marketing officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. "To once again see both the program and our credit card recognized in this way is a testament to the power of the program, dedication of our franchisees and partners, and the loyalty of our more than 95 million enrolled members who, year-in and year-out, continue to make our program number one."

    Wyndham Rewards is the only hotel loyalty program to offer members a guaranteed 1,000 points with every qualified stay. Free nights start at just 7,500 points per night, while discounted nights start at 1,500 points plus some cash. The program's Member Levels (tier status), which are among the most attainable, allow members to unlock great benefits like a preferred room, late checkout, accelerated earning and more.

    For more information about the USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards, visit

    To learn more about Wyndham Rewards, or to join for free, visit

    Accor Hotels just launched another partnership, this time with Qatar Airways.

    Similar to the Miles + Points partnership with KLM/Air France Flying Blue , Accor with Qantas and other crossover programs (eg Marriott and  Emirates; Shangri-La and Singapore Airlines; Hyatt and American Airlines), you can now double dip on Accor hotel stays and Qatar Airways flights. Here are the details of the partnership and now to earn both Reward points and Avios.

    Accor and Qatar Crossover partnership

    Accor Hotels and Qatar Airways have already had a partnership, but now this partnership is being improved. Now, members of either loyalty program can earn both ALL Reward points and Qatar Avios on either flight and hotel bookings.

    First, you need to link your ALL account with your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account. You can link your accounts either via Accor Hotels or Qatar Airways.

    If you already took advantage of the ALL and Flying Blue partnership, you'll need to choose which airline you want to double dip with. You can only linked your ALL account to one airline at a time. If you linked your ALL account to Flying Blue in the past 12 months, you will need to wait until the end of 12 months before you can link to Qatar Airways.

    Double-dipping between Accor Hotels and Qatar Airways

    After you link your Accor Live Limitless and Qatar Airways Privilege Club accounts, you will start earning both ALL Reward points and Avios on your stays and flights:

    • For every US$2 spent on Qatar Airways flights, you will earn 1 ALL Reward point,  in addition to the Avios you earn on the flight.
    • For every €1 spent at Accor properties, you will earn 1 Avios in your Qatar Airways Privilege Club account,  in addition to the regular ALL Reward points earned for your stay.
    Make sure to provide your applicable account membership number at booking or check-in to receive points and Avios.

    Once you have accrued your Avios and Reward points, you can transfer from one program to the other:
    • Convert 4,500 Avios into 1,000 Reward points.
    • Minimum conversion: 2,000 Reward points = 1,000 Avios.

    T&C's apply, including:
    • Members who do not have a Privilege Club membership account before linking accounts will need to take an extra step. You will only earn Avios on hotel activities after performing an international activity. That can be your first stay outside of the country of residence in your ALL loyalty program account or after your first flight on Qatar Airways (all of which are international).
    • All domestic stays within 12 months before the first international activity and after the account linkage will be retroactively rewarded with Avios. Avios earned retroactively on stays in a given year will be credited no later than December 31 of that same year.
    • To remain eligible for the accrual of Avios on eligible stays, the members will have to perform an international activity at least every 12 months.

    Fast-track to Elite Status

    The Accor and Qatar partnership includes a fast track to elite status in both rewards programs. Accor elite status members will earn Qatar Airways Privilege Club elite status after their first qualifying flight:
    • ALL Gold status members will receive Privilege Club Silver status;
    • ALL Platinum status members will receive Privilege Club Gold status.; and
    • ALL Diamond status members will receive Privilege Club Platinum status.
    Conversely, Privilege Club elite status members will earn ALL elite status after your first qualifying hotel stay:
    • Privilege Club Gold status members will receive ALL Silver status.
    • Privilege Club Platinum status members will receive ALL Gold status.

    These Fast Track offers are only available once. Your complimentary ALL elite status will be good until the end of the following calendar year. So, you have the incentive to try to get your status as close to the beginning of the year as you can. Complimentary Privilege Club elite statuses will be good 12 months after being received.

    What does this mean for you?

    This is another great partnership from Accor. Double-dipping on points is always a nice benefit and reciprocal elite status levels are also great, especially when you can earn Oneworld Emerald status with your ALL Diamond status.

    Avios earned can also be transferred/used for other Avios programs (BA, Iberia etc.), which may suit for say short-haul rewards flights. 

    But the ability to accrue rewards with Qatar, consistently rated as one of the world's best airlines, is an outstanding attraction of this new double-dipping program. Depending upon your flying patterns and the alliance program your preferred airline belongs to (Qatar and Qantas are both OneWorld, Air France/KLM is SkyTeam), this may very well be the best double-dipping program.

    To learn more about the Accor Live Limitless rewards program...

    Accor marks its 400th hotel in Australia and the Pacific

    Accor marks its 400th hotel in Australia and the Pacific

    This milestone for Accor is part of its dynamic Pacific expansion, with 11 new hotels  set to open in next two years in Australia and New Zealand.

    Just three decades after entering the Australia/Pacific hotel market, Accor has recently added its 400th hotel, with the launch of The Porter House Hotel - MGallery in Sydney.

    Accor's first hotel in the region - Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour (1991) - was a catalyst for the redevelopment of Darling Harbour into Sydney's premier tourism, entertainment and events precinct, and the transformation of the iconic Porter House building into a luxury hotel is set to boost Sydney's CBD revival.

    The opening of The Porter House Hotel is part of a large-scale expansion of Accor in the Pacific region, with 11 new hotels and 1,569 rooms scheduled to open before the end of 2023. They include the debut of the 25hours brand in Australia, new airport hotels at Melbourne Airport and Auckland Airport, and another heritage restoration in Sydney, Hotel Morris, which is being created out of the 1929-built former West End Hotel in Pitt Street.

    Announcing the 400th hotel milestone, Accor Pacific CEO, Sarah Derry, said it was fitting to celebrate such a major landmark as the hotel industry accelerated towards a full post-pandemic recovery.

    Choice Hotels Commences Integration Of Radisson Americas

    Choice Hotels Commences Integration Of Radisson Americas

    Choice Hotels yesterday announced that it has completed the acquisition of Radisson Hotels Americas.

    The acquisition has added approximately 67,000 rooms, expanding its presence in the higher revenue upper upscale and upscale full-service segments, and bolstering its core upper-midscale hospitality segment, particularly in the West Coast and Midwest of the United States.

    Radisson Hotels Americas comprises the Radisson franchise agreements, operations and intellectual property in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. The transaction adds nine brands, including Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson Individuals, Park Plaza, Radisson RED, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson, Radisson Inn & Suites and Radisson Collection. Choice Hotels will independently own and control the brands in the Americas.

    Choice Hotels has started the process of bringing Radisson hotels in the Americas into the Choice Hotels family. In the future, you’ll be able to find rooms at more than 600 Radisson hotels across the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America on and the Choice Hotels mobile app.

    I expect the Radisson Americas properties will also be integrated into the loyalty program Choice Privileges around the same time.

    Until this process is completed, travellers should continue to book Radisson hotels in the Americas at and through the Radisson call centre at 1-800-333-3333.

    The Standard - Iconic Hotel Chain Coming To Melbourne

    The Standard - Iconic Hotel Chain Coming To Melbourne

    Melbourne’s edgy, inner-city suburb of Fitzroy will soon play host to the Australian debut of global boutique brand, The Standard Hotels.

    One of the world’s fastest growing boutique brands, The Standard prides itself on shaking up the establishment and defying convention to deliver a unique experience. The company says its careful consideration of design, detail and service has allowed it to cultivate a reputation or irreverent and playful sensibility.

    To be located on Rose Street, The Standard Fitzroy will come to life as a 127-room hotel built over seven levels, with design cues inspired heavily by the local area and its long-standing industrial heritage.

    The Standard, Fitzroy will be positioned right in the heart of Fitzroy’s bustling creative community, with a plethora of quirky and niche galleries, boutiques, markets, bars and cafes surrounding the new development. A location that suit well The Standard's youthful, energetic, design-focussed vibe.

    Fitzroy’s history of corner pubs, workers cottages, grand housing and industry inspired the approach to the building’s façades. The weathered steel and concrete are robust, timeless materials that sit comfortably straight away and, over time, will add charm as they patina.

    The Standard, Fitzroy is on track to open to guests in June 2023.

    Similar timing also applies to The Standard, Singapore.

    Both will supplement the existing portfolio of properties in NYC, Ibiza, Maldives, Hua Hin, Bangkok, Miami Beach and London.

    Pssst!  Kimpton Secret Password Valid Through Early September 2022

    Pssst! Kimpton Secret Password Valid Through Early September 2022

    Now through 5 September 2022, mention the secret password “Stay Cool” at check-in to score perks and other benefits when staying at Kimpton Hotels (which are part of IHG).

    Perks range by property, but can be free parking, a free breakfast, or a free room upgrade, etc.

    In addition, Kimpton is now offering travellers an “emotional support beverage” at check-in if your arrival flight was cancelled or delayed. Very considerate !

    Kimpton is one of our favoured brands. Lovely properties, great service and a few quirks like the above and their very pet-friendly approach for authentic, brand-consistent touches of individualty.

    Members of my Barceló, have priority access to Happy Days offers, an exclusive Barcelo­ Hotels event running until 3 August with unique discounts on hotels and resorts.

    Get up to 25% off bookings in destinations such as Andalusia, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean.

    Plus, get an extra 10% discount by entering the promo code 22HAPPYB10 when making your booking.

    Not yet a member, but want to take advantage?  Join my Barcelo first - it's free.

    T&C's apply, including restrictions in some hotels and during specific periods. Check offer conditions at Barcelo­.com

    Preferred Hotels Promotion - Save 30% When You Book Your Beach & Island Bliss

    Preferred Hotels Promotion - Save 30% When You Book Your Beach & Island Bliss

    Preferred Hotels & Resorts is running a limited time offer where you can save up to 30% on your next beach or island vacation

    Book online with Preferred Hotels' Stay More, Save More offer by December 31, 2022, for travel through March 31, 2023 to save up to 30% on stays of three nights or more at any of 8 beach destinations from California to Maldives.

    The participating properties are:

    Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
    Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club, Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla
    Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, Palm Beach,  Florida, USA 
    NIZUC Resort & Spa, Cancun, Mexico
    Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, Maldives
    Coco Bodu Hithi, Maldives
    Rancho Santana, Tola, Nicaragua
    Hotel Californian, Santa Barbara, California

    A great saving for a wonderful, luxury break. I Prefer members also receive their usual perks.

    T&C's apply.

    How Poor Hotel Selection Can Ruin Enjoyment of a Destination : Hilton “It Matters Where You Stay"

    How Poor Hotel Selection Can Ruin Enjoyment of a Destination : Hilton “It Matters Where You Stay"

    Hilton is debuting “It Matters Where You Stay”, a new advertising campaign using humor to highlight some of the common but unspoken pitfalls of travel, boldly poking fun at what can go wrong when booking accommodation or on a trip. The campaign will initially launch in the US.

    In one of the featured TV spots, the brand pokes fun at what can go wrong when booking online for a vacation rental – depicting a family showing up to a hilariously creepy property that wasn’t exactly as advertised.

    Another zeroes in on a unique Hilton feature that addresses a very real pain point of family travel, the importance of securing connected rooms at the time of booking.

    A timely reminder that while selecting your destination is important, the accommodation booking can make or break both your enjoyment of it and the memories you will have.

    Sometimes, "when you pay peanuts, you get monkeys".

    Preferred Hotels Adds 19 Properties To Its Luxurious Portfolio

    Preferred Hotels Adds 19 Properties To Its Luxurious Portfolio

    Preferred Hotels and Resorts has added 19 new member properties to its global portfolio between April 1 and June 30 this year.

    Opening its doors this month, Hotel Per La in Los Angeles will take up residence in the former headquarters of The Bank of Italy—a historic building in downtown Los Angeles. There are 241 guestrooms with custom furnishings and Bellino linens, an art collection with more than 4,000 curated pieces, 10,000 square feet of meetings and event spaces, and a rooftop pool and bar with skyline views. Later this summer, the hotel will launch a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant that highlights the building’s past.

    Garza Blanca Resort & Spa Cancun – a Tafer Resort is the sister property of Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta. This all-inclusive beachfront property offers 452 suites with private balconies or terraces. There are six dining concepts (and two more set to launch later this summer) and a gourmet hall offering a range of world cuisines with five kitchen stations. Standouts include four family heated pools, an adults-only rooftop pool, holistic treatments by Spa Imagine, and easy access to Playa Mujeres Golf Club. The concierge team can organize excursions to Mayan archeological sites in the Yucatán Peninsula.

    Iniala Harbour House & Residences is located on the iconic St. Barbara Bastion in Valletta, Malta. The pet-friendly hotel comprises four "palatial" houses, along with 20 suites and three guestrooms with balconies or terraces. Tip: Some of which have private plunge pools, while all have French windows that frame views of Grand Harbour. Other highlights include ION Harbour, a rooftop restaurant by Michelin-star chef Alex Dilling, spa treatments at Essensi Spa by Iniala, 24-hour gym, cocktail bar and artwork by renowned and emerging Maltese and Gozitan artists.

    Grand Hotel San Pietro in Sicily is a restored early 20th-century villa-turned-luxury hotel. It is situated on the site of an ancient Roman road in Taormina. Guests can enjoy 63 guestrooms (some pet-friendly) with views out to the Ionian Sea, an outdoor pool surrounded by gardens, an al fresco restaurant with an expansive terrace, and the Rotonda sul Mare—an intimate patio that serves romantic dinners for two directly above Isola Bella. Other highlights include a spa with a Finnish sauna and steam bath, private boat trips to sea caves and rocky beaches, and guided tours to Mount Etna. Guests can take complimentary shuttle rides to Taormina for designer shopping and dining experiences.

    Home to more than 27,000 square feet of spa and wellness space, the Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club is spread across 300 acres of beach with 178 guestrooms, beach suites and multi-bedroom villas offering shared butler services. Luxury facilities include the newly revamped Aurora International Golf Club, and seven restaurants and bars. Guests can enjoy group hikes, pickleball, movie nights on the beach and boat racing–Anguilla’s national sport. This fall, guests will be able to book one of the resort’s fleet of charter jets for direct service to the property from select U.S. airports.

    Other member properties that joined Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ global portfolio from April 1 through June 30, 2022, include:

    • Virgin Hotels New Orleans, Nashville, Dallas and Chicago;
    • Preserve Sporting Club & Residences in Richmond, RI;
    • Aspen Meadows Resort;
    • The Laurel Hotel & Spa in Auburn, AL;
    • The Hotel at Auburn University & Dixon Conference Center;
    • Pestana Douro *, Riverside Hotel & Conference Center in Porto, Portugal;
    • HS HOTSSON Hotel Guadalajara Expo;
    • Grand Fiesta Americana Oaxaca;
    • Umiltà 36 in Rome;
    • Hotel Savoia & Jolanda in Venice; and
    • Hotel Golf Chateau de Chailly in France.
    Each of these new member hotels participate in the  “I Prefer" loyalty program, where members can earn points redeemable for benefits from eligible stays at over 650 participating hotels and resorts worldwide. You can find details on the program in our Complete Guide to I Prefer, including how to sign up (free of charge).

    Bookings for approx. 200 of the 650 properties made through our associated travel agency can be made at the I Prefer Member rate and earn I Prefer points.  All such bookings (at either Member or Best Available rates) receive the following perks at no additional cost:
    • $100 Hotel Credit per Stay (to be used on services such as spa, dining, or selected amenities valued at $100 or more)
    • Breakfast for Two Daily
    • Room Upgrade (subject to availability)
    • Priority Check-in and Check-out (subject to availability)
    • Complimentary in-room internet.
    * Pestana Douro also participates in the Pestana Guest loyalty program. The benefits of booking as an I Prefer member are similar to that for members of the "Honor" (top status tier) of Pestana Guest, but with daily breakfast instead of the discounted member room rates. Book through our travel agency and you will also receive the $100 Hotel Credit.

    Some very attractive properties have been added to the list of luxury Preferred Hotels portfolio. Many in the Americas, but some especially enticing ones in Europe too.
    Decisions, decisions...

    Fullerton Hotels Opens Its First Resort and First Property in Hong Kong

    Fullerton Hotels Opens Its First Resort and First Property in Hong Kong

    The 5-star luxury hotel group Fullerton Hotels and Resorts (best known for The Fullerton Singapore and more recently, The Fullerton Sydney) announced the Early Stage Soft Opening of The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong yesterday. Nestled in the southside of Hong Kong Island with breathtaking views of the South China Sea, the 425-room hotel marks the brand's debut in Hong Kong and its first resort worldwide.

    This opening signifies the expansion of the brand known for its heritage conservation efforts and award-winning offerings. 

    The waterfront urban resort, a mere 15-minute drive from Hong Kong's Central business district yet worlds away from the city's fast pace, is the ideal holiday retreat.  There is plenty to explore nearby, from taking in the sights and sounds of nature at one of Aberdeen's numerous beaches and leisurely hiking trails, to rediscovering some of Hong Kong's oldest gems at historical temples and fishing market, or experiencing the area's up-and-coming cultural scene through charming local boutiques and exhibitions at neighbouring art galleries.

    Committed to sustainability and guests' well-being, the hotel has attained the WELL Pre-certification under the WELL Building Standard™ v2, becoming the first hotel project in Hong Kong and Mainland China to receive this internationally acclaimed recognition. This commitment extends to environmental initiatives including the elimination of single-use plastics, sourcing sustainable seafood, and an in-situ hotel farm.

    The Fullerton Ocean Park Hong Kong is set to become an oceanfront culinary destination with five dining concepts, including Jade, the signature Chinese restaurant of The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. The Cantonese fine dining restaurant will be helmed by the acclaimed Chef Lai Ching Shing. In addition, the Lighthouse Lounge, Lighthouse Café, Satay Inn offer contemporary indoor and al fresco social space for unique dining experiences. Giardino, an oceanfront Italian restaurant, to be located on the 3rd floor with alfresco dining, will soon open later this year. To cater to the demand for meaningful, restorative experiences, the hotel has carefully curated comprehensive wellness retreat offerings to ensure an ultimate resort getaway. A 24-hour gym, luxury spa and the expansive infinity pool with panoramic sea views provide the perfect setting for enriching fitness activities and relaxation.

    For weddings and major events, the hotel features a variety of outdoor and indoor event spaces complete with stunning sea views, including a pillar-free ballroom that can accommodate up to 500 guests with a panoramic oceanview pre-function foyer

    The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong is a member hotel of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and participates in its loyalty program I Prefer.

    As a member of the Preferred Platinum Program, our associated travel agency is able to provide complimentary perks when you book through them (and you also still earn I Prefer points).

    Each year Travel + Leisure magazine taps into its readership and invites thousands to complete a survey that rates airlines, spas, hotels, islands and more on many factors. The detailed survey evaluation results in its readers' rankings of the best hospitality has to offer from around the world.

    Participants in the survey collected data from late October 2021 through to the end of February 2022. They rated (with a maximum score of 100) hotels, airlines, cruise lines, tour operators, etc on numerous characteristics, with the option of rating excellent, above average, average, below average and poor. A minimum number of responses was necessary for a candidate to be eligible for Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Awards.

    This year’s results spanned a whopping 120 categories among hotels, resorts and hospitality brands in cities, countries and regions globally; to spas, favourite global cities, and best islands, cruise lines, tour operators, safari outfitters, airlines, car rental companies and National Parks.

    Some key observations:

    The overall winner was the super-luxury Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Montalcino. Rosewood also had 2 other properties in the top 100. 

    Auberge and Shangri-La also both had 3 properties in the top 100.

    The groups with the most properties in the top 100 both have Indian roots - Oberoi and Taj both had 6 properties in the list of top 100 hotels. 

    While Preferred Hotels owns no hotels of its own, it markets (and offers a loyalty program) for 5 of the top 100 hotels (Pendry Chicago #25, Riggs Washington D.C. #31, Finca Cortesín Hotel Golf & Spa, Málaga #44, Grand Hotel Tremezzo – Lake Como, #53 and Rancho Santana – Tola, Nicaragua, #56). 

    Multi-brand Marriott had 4 properties, while Capella, Hilton, Six Senses (IHG), Rocco Forte and Mandarin Oriental each had 2 properties rated in the top 100.

    In terms of the Best 25 Hotel Brands in the World, the Accor stable rated very well, with 3 of its brands rated in the top 25 (Raffles #4, Sofitel Legend #6 and Banyan Tree #11). Global Hotels Alliance (GHA) also had 3 of its brands rated in the top 25 (Viceroy #10, Anantara #14 and Capella #17).  

    Of the major, multi-brand chains, IHG (Six Senses #19), Hilton (St Regis #24) and Marriott (Luxury Collection #25) each had 1 brand in the top 25.

    If you'd like to know more about any of the hotels or brands, our associated Travel Agency is a specialist advisor for Langham, Shangri-La. Rosewood, Four Seasons, Waldorf Astoria, Raffles, Preferred Hotels, Hyatt, IHG, Conrad and St Regis - able to offer free perks like room upgrades and property credits when you book.

    Our congratulations to Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco and all category winners. Far too many to list here entirely, so we list below a selection of the results:

    100 Best Hotels in the World

    Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco (99.25),
    Grace Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection (99.22),
    Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi (99.11),
    Pickering House Inn, Wolfeboro (98.95) and
    One&Only Reethi Rah (98.93).

    25 Best Hotel Brands of the World

    Oberoi Hotels & Resorts (97.50),
    One&Only Resorts (96.20),
    Oetker Collection (96.15),
    Raffles Hotels & Resorts (95.5) and
    Red Carnation Hotel Collection (95.32).

    5 Best Resorts - South Pacific

    Namale Resort & Spa, Savusavu, Fiji,
    Conrad Bora Bora Nui,
    St. Regis Bora Bora Resort,
    Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora,
    InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa.

    Best Islands of the World

    Ischia, Italy (94.61),
    Maldives (94.44),
    Bali (92.51),
    Milos, Greece (92.50) and
    Fiji Islands (92.38).

    5 Best International Spas

    Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico (95.76),
    Sha Wellness Clinic, El Abir, Spain (95.20),
    Therme di Saturnia (94.15),
    Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa (93.26),
    Chable Maroma, Punta Maroma, Mexico (89.90).

    25 Best Cities in the World

    Oaxaca, Mexico (92.96),
    San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (91.77),
    Ubud, Indonesia (91.73),
    Florence (91.06) and
    Istanbul (90.97).

    Best City Hotels - Europe

    Hôtel Madame Rêve, Paris (98.73),
    Rosewood Villa Magna, Madrid (98.67),
    Portrait Firenze, Florence (98.25),
    Raffles Istanbul (98.25) and
    Shangri-La at the Shard, London (97.86).

    Best City Hotels - Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific

    The Langham, Melbourne (92.53),
    Park Hyatt Sydney (90.40),
    Four Seasons Hotel Sydney (88.30),
    InterContinental Sydney (87.76) and
    Shangri-La Sydney (86.40).

    Best Islands - Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific

    Fiji Islands (92.38),
    Moorea, French Polynesia (90.24),
    Bora Bora, French Polynesia (87.70),
    Great Barrier Reef Islands (86.90) and
    Tahiti, French Polynesia (83.33).

    WorldHotels Adds Four New Luxury Hotels in Europe

    WorldHotels Adds Four New Luxury Hotels in Europe

    WorldHotels Collection (the luxury arm of Best Western) announced today the expansion of its hotel offerings in premier destinations across Europe. The addition of these 4 new properties is part of the company’s expansion of its footprint in key destinations around the globe.

    The latest WorldHotels openings include:

    The Crown London Located just 18 minutes from the heart of London’s centre, this Victorian style hotel features flawless suites with stained-glass windows and fireplaces. This modern space is designed to be the perfect sanctuary a short distance away from the hustle and bustle of the City. The property features a contemporary restaurant and a longstanding landmark London pub.

    Hotel Mulino di Firenze, Florence, Italy is a beautiful romantic property within close proximity to Florence’s major landmarks, allowing guests to discover both the city and the countryside. Located on the Arno River in Tuscany, the property offers guests exclusively Tuscan stays amongst nature, art, and the food and wine of the region. Guests will enjoy dining at Grano D’Oro Restaurant, which overlooks the Arno and offers outdoor terrace seating in the summer. For visitors seeking tranquility, the Spa features wellness and personized beauty treatments reserved exclusively for hotel guests. Summer is also the perfect time to access the hotel’s solarium area swimming pool complete with deckchairs, sun loungers and umbrellas.

    Woughton House Hotel, Milton Keynes, UK is located in a beautiful tranquil setting, unique to the Milton Keynes area. Built in 1844, this Georgian manor house is the perfect getaway with grounds surrounded by greenery and Ouzel Valley Park, which provides guests with endless photo opportunities. Amenities include premium bedding, continental breakfast and Cosy’s lounge bar. There are also multiple dining and entertainment options just a short distance from the hotel.

    The Riverside Hotel, Salisbury, UK presents five-star luxury located in the heart of Salisbury, which is best known for its timeless appeal and charm. A contemporary manor house, The Riverside Hotel is filled with character, and is on the grounds of the Avon and Nadder rivers, overlooking the stunning Salisbury Cathedral. The hotel is just a quick walk to the heart of the city, where guests can explore the historic Salisbury Cathedral, Britain’s tallest spire and the best-preserved copy of the Magna Carta. The famous Stonehenge is also just a short drive away.

    Guests can enjoy the benefits of the WorldHotels Rewards loyalty program when staying at these properties.

    Jade Mountain Joins Regenerative Travel

    Jade Mountain Joins Regenerative Travel

    Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia has received Member Hotel Status from the Eco-Luxury community Regenerative Travel as it becomes the latest addition to its portfolio of sustainable hotels.

    Jade Mountain is an entirely hand-built hotel in St Lucia where the rooms have no outer walls and are completely open to the ocean and piton views, each with its own private infinity pool or jacuzzi. Some readers may recall Jade Mountain was the hotel featured in the BBC 2 series Amazing Hotels – Life Beyond the Lobby (season 3, episode 4).

    Regenerative Travel is a community of independent, luxury hotels that aim to shift the travel industry towards a more regenerative future.

    Jade Mountain will receive a bespoke educational curriculum to further its commitment to regeneration. It will also be required to undertake a regular self-assessment and report monthly on 29 indicators aligned with Regenerative Travel’s standards. This assessment holds hotels accountable to its eco-credentials and is a showcase of activism towards a regenerative future.

    Jade Mountain has practiced sustainability since its opening in 2006 and has placed emphasis on retaining as much economic benefits in the region as possible. The property takes sustainable steps while educating guests about the culture, history and ecology of the region. For instance, the resort has made its water supply independent from Soufriere so as not to impact the local community. All of the drinking water at Jade Mountain is sourced from the river at Anse Mamin valley, which is then filtered and conditioned at the resort in a special treatment facility. The resort also has its own rainwater-fed water purification plant system and recycles treated sewage water, which irrigates a nursery which, in turn, propagates thousands of tropical plants for landscaping.

    Jade Mountain was inspired by the philosophy of building in alignment with Caribbean nature. No machinery was used in its construction; it also has either used all furniture and furnishings made locally or purchased them from local businesses. The property features rugged stone-faced columns, individual bridges and infinity pool suites that overlook the Caribbean Sea.

    All members of Jade Mountain’s construction team were from St Lucia and the hotel currently employs a 99 percent local workforce, making them one of the most important employers in the region.

    This stunning eco-luxury hotel is also a member of the Small Luxury Hotels program and guests can receive special perks by booking through our affiliated travel agency or as members of SLH Invited. 

    Banyan Tree "Branches Out" With 4 Exciting New Properties In Japan

    Banyan Tree "Branches Out" With 4 Exciting New Properties In Japan

    Banyan Tree Group has announced its expansion into Japan with the introduction of four locations.  Two have already opened, with the others being rolled-out over the next few years.

    Banyan Tree Holdings brands include Banyan Tree, Angsana, Cassia, Dhawa and Laguna. The group is well known throughout Asia for its luxury wellness and sustainable ethos, with beautiful villas and resorts, especially in beachside locations.

    Members of Accor Live Limitless can use points to make bookings at select Banyan Tree properties.

    Both members and non-members can access luxury perks when booking (non award) stays through our travel agency - Rewarding Travel.

    Banyan Tree and Angsana are two of our favourite spa/wellness groups, so this expansion into urban and ski-field locations is particularly exciting!

    Watch this space...

    Opened on 17 June 2022:

    Dhawa Yura Kyoto opened its doors on June 17 near Sanjo Ohashi, a bridge that was once the final station of the ancient Tokaido Road from Tokyo. The road served as a route for long-distance voyagers during the Edo period in Japan. The 138-room hotel’s historic ties are reflected in the interior design and artwork, besides an 8lement Spa. 

    As the first opening under the group’s newest concept, Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto is a 25-room hotel that also opened on June 17. It is located in front of Nijo Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site built in 1603 during the Tokugawa Shogunate. The new Garrya brand is a concept promising a Zen-like atmosphere along with a focus on well-being and sustainability at a more accessible price point. The first Garrya, the Garrya Huzhou Lucun, opened in Huzhou, China, in 2021, now accomp[anied by the Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto. 

    Planned to open 2024:
    Located in the Gion and Higashiyama district, Banyan Tree Higashiyama Kyoto will open in spring 2024 as a 52-room luxury, hilltop urban resort. It is touted to be the first and only hotel in Kyoto city to have a Noh stage

    Planned to open 2025:
    A newly built resort set to open in 2025 in the most popular ski resort destination of Japan, Cassia Hirafu in Niseko will be a stone’s throw from Hirafu ski slope. It will feature 50 rooms and 113 residences that will be available for sale.

    Planned to open 2026:
    Renowned for its hot spring and views of Mount Fuji, Banyan Tree Ashinoko Hakone is slated to open in 2026, in an area adjacent to Lake Ashino.

    NH Hotels officially joins GHA

    NH Hotels officially joins GHA

    Pictured is the NH Collection Plaza Santiago.

    On June 20th, NH Hotels officially joined Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. 

    NH Hotel Group is one of the largest hotel companies in the world and brings to the alliance more than 350 properties in 30 countries under three brands – NH Hotels, NH Collection and nhow.

    NH Hotel Group is majority-owned by Minor Hotels, a Bangkok-based operator of more than 160 hotels and a GHA shareholder. Minor Hotels’ global family of brands include Anantara, Avani, Elewana Collection, Oaks and Tivoli which were already member brands of the alliance and participate in GHA DISCOVERY.

    The move sees the transformation of NH Rewards into the GHA DISCOVERY loyalty programme, becoming NH DISCOVERY and creating a 21-million-strong global membership. Existing NH Rewards members will retain the value of their points and their other benefits, including Member Rates with up to 10% discount and additional rewards for booking on the NH or GHA websites.

    For more details on GHA Discovery, see our Guide to GHA Discovery

    A unique feature of the NH Discovery version is that NH Hotels shareholders can upgrade their tier status for attractive benefits.  

    Under T&C 4.9 Members of the NH DISCOVERY Programme who are also NH’s Shareholders may upgrade their Tier as follows:

    *  To the Gold Tier if they hold a block of shares to a value which is lower than 2,000 Euros; or

    *  To the Platinum Tier if they hold a block of shares to a value equal to or greater than 2,000 Euros but lower than 3,000 Euros.

    *  To the Titanium Tier if they hold a block of shares to a value equal to or greater than 3,000 Euros. 

    The value of a block of shares will be determined considering the number of shares multiplied by their market value. In order to enable the upgrading of a Tier, Members must prove their status as a Shareholder by sending their securities account certificate by email to 

    If you are a shareholder of NH Hotels, these upgrades last for as long a you own the requisite value of shares, providing a way of holding tier status without the requirement of stays or spending.

    I Prefer Hotel Rewards Program benefits have been enhanced

    I Prefer Hotel Rewards Program benefits have been enhanced

    Preferred Hotel Group has released a series of updates and enriched benefits to its I Prefer  loyalty program. From the launch of I Prefer Gift Cards and a Stay, Reward, Repeat bonus points offer to the next installment of I Prefer Auctions, an ever-lasting Flexible Member Rate, and the introduction of a new points-plus-cash option to book Reward Nights – these program enhancements reflect Preferred Hotel Group’s commitment to deliver a range of value-rich benefits that cater to the needs of its loyalty members worldwide.   

    Highlights of the I Prefer Hotel Rewards loyalty program enhancements include: 

    I Prefer Gift Cards with 20% Bonus Value 

    I Prefer Gift Cards are now available and can be used towards services, experiences, and stays at hundreds of participating I Prefer hotels and resorts across the globe. As an introductory special, purchasers will receive a 20% Bonus Card with each I Prefer Gift Card purchased now through June 30, 2022. To purchase I Prefer Gift Cards, and take advantage of this special launch offer, visit the  I Prefer Gift Cards site

    Stay, Reward, Repeat Offer 
    I Prefer members staying one, two, or three consecutive nights will now have the opportunity to earn up to 15,000 I Prefer Bonus Points – which is enough to redeem towards a free Reward Night or other  travel opportunities such as I Prefer Auctions and Reward Certificates. Pre-registration is required and bookings must be made by September 30, 2022, for stays through December 31, 2022. For additional details and to register for this offer, visit the dedicated Stay, Reward, Repeat Offer site. 

    I Prefer Reward Nights Plus 
    The recent launch of I Prefer Reward Nights Plus invites I Prefer members to book exclusive hotel rates using a combination of points plus cash, while earning points on the cash portion of their rate. For as little as 3,000 points plus cash payment in varying amounts, members can book and enjoy a selection of independent hotel experiences including but not limited to, Hotel Carlton in Antananarivo, Madagascar; Metropole Hotel in Venice, Italy; Royal Plaza on the Scotts in Singapore; NIZUC Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico; The Hollywood Roosevelt in Los Angeles, California; Ohla Eixample in Barcelona, Spain; Hotel Sans Souci in Vienna, Austria; and The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.; with more hotels from desirable global destinations coming soon. To learn more and to book stays at participating properties, members can visit the dedicated I Prefer Reward Nights Plus site. 

    Additional program updates include: 

    I Prefer Auction to run June 16-22, 2022 
    Offering a unique way to bid and win one-of-a-kind travel experiences, the next I Prefer Auction will run June 16-22, 2022 and feature a curated selection of 15 hand-picked experiences available for limited-time bidding. Exclusive to I Prefer members, bids start as low as 12,500 I Prefer Points and include experiences such as a Guatemalan wellness ritual, afternoon tea for two in London, formal Omakase dining in Bangkok, cable cars in San Francisco, a perfect Parisian spa day, rooftop dinner for two in Saint-Tropez, a rebalancing massage in Coastal Italy, and more. Members can view the full list of experiences, and the complete terms and conditions, by visiting the dedicated I Prefer Auctions site. 

    Flexible Member Rate  
    Recognizing the importance of member-only value and flexibility, Preferred Hotel Group is pleased to announce that the I Prefer Flexible Member Rate is here to stay – members can book enjoy savings of 10% or more on top of the best available rate at more than 300 participating hotels. The flexible rate is also fully cancellable up through the day of arrival, providing travelers with the peace of mind needed if travel plans get disrupted. For additional details and to book, visit the dedicated Flexible Member Rate site

    I Prefer is free to join. For more information, read our Guide to the I Prefer program, which contains a link to enrol.

    Mandarin Oriental has signed a long term management agreement with Attestor Limited (a London based investment manager) to rebrand and manage the historic Hotel Cristallo in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. .

    Currently a (Marriott) Luxury Collection property, the historic property will undergo a substantial renovation after closing in the second quarter of 2023, re-opening as a Mandarin Oriental resort in the summer of 2025, ahead of the Milano-Cortina Winter Olympics.  After re-opening, the hotel will feature 83 guestrooms, many with balconies, including 30 spacious suites with beautiful views of the Dolomites. Due to an extensive investment in artificial snow systems, the Dolomites are among the few Alpine resorts with guaranteed snow throughout the season and feature 1,200 kilometers of interconnected slopes.

    The resort will also feature a range of restaurants and bars, flexible spaces for entertainment and events, as well as an extensive spa and wellness facility, which includes a swimming pool that transverses from inside to outside the building.  

    The property sits above the most recognized mountain village in the Dolomites, a short walk away from Cortina d’Ampezzo, known as the ‘Queen of the Dolomites’, which features many award-winning restaurants, luxury brand boutiques and local arts and crafts. Venice Marco Polo Airport is reachable in one and a half hours by car. 

    The all-year resort will provide a picturesque backdrop from which to enjoy a broad range of experiences from skiing to golf, cross country walking and hiking, tennis, ice skating, mountain climbing and a Kid’s Club equipped to match the needs of various age groups. 

    Hotel Cristallo was built in 1901 in Art Nouveau style by the Menardi family and was a popular ski destination in the 1930s for the European cultured elite. After the Olympic Games of 1956, the Hotel entered its “golden era” as a renowned ski destination, hosting royals and celebrities, including Peter Sellers, Frank Sinatra, Saul Bellow and Vladimir Nabokov. It has featured as a backdrop for a number of award-winning films, maintaining its historical charm as an early 20th century grand hotel. 

    In 2021, the property was acquired by funds managed by Attestor Limited, who also own Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como.  A major investment will be made so that Hotel Cristallo will undergo a thorough renovation including a new extension, created by award-winning architects Herzog and deMeuron.

    Mandarin Oriental is renowned for exemplary service and is one of our favourite luxury hotel groups, so we are excited.. Watch this space as the Milano-Cortina Winter Olympics get closer, as I am sure the rooms and suites will be booked out very soon after the reopening.

    Mandarin Oriental has a loyalty program - Fans of M.O.

    Rocco Forte's "European Grand Tour" - a luxury tour de force

    Rocco Forte's "European Grand Tour" - a luxury tour de force

    This year, uber luxury group Rocco Forte Hotels is celebrating its 25th anniversary by offering immersive experiences inspired by the cities their properties call home. The group is offering a “European Grand Tour” so guests can interact with local artisanal talent while enjoying the best that each city has to offer.

    Guests can book individual hotel experiences or opt to fully immerse in the “European Grand Tour”. You can select up to five Rocco Forte Hotels and enhance their itinerary with one or more of the curated experiences (see below).

    My favoured five? While it is difficult to narrow down, I think mine are:

    • Villa Igiea, Palermo
    • Masseria Torre Maizza, Puglia
    • Hotel de la Ville, Rome
    • The Charles Hotel, Munich
    • The Balmoral, Edinburgh
    What are yours?

    Our associated Travel Agency has a strong relationship with Rocco Forte and can offer extra perks at no additional cost. Arrange a time for a complimentary discussion to find out more about the European Grand Tour or any other travel ideas you wish to explore.

    The properties participating in the European Grand Tour include:

    Villa Igiea in Palermo, Italy has curated an artistic guide to the city through the lens of the aristocratic Florio family, who originally transformed the private estate into a luxury hotel at the start of the 20th century. Guests will discover the history of Palermo through a city-wide tour, including a private tour of the 300-year-old Palazzo Gangi. At the end of the architectural adventure, guests will be greeted with dinner in the hotel’s Louis XVI Hall, named in honor of the Florio family.

    Verdura Resort in Sicily has curated a golfing experience. Guests will be welcomed with a personalized gift bag filled with golf equipment. They will also experience a training session with the resort’s PGA coach and enjoy a three-course lunch. They can enjoy treatments at the Irene Forte Spa or stay in one of the private villas.

    Guests staying at Hotel de la Ville in Rome can embark on a two-hour guided tour through the dark streets of Rome’s heretics, traitors and ghosts. Crossing through the Sant’Angelo bridge, travelers will learn about Mastro Titta, the official executioner for the Papal States and travel back to the taverns where Caravaggio brawled in the streets and created endless stories still talked about in the modern day.

    Masseria Torre Maizza has curated a journey through Puglia on a plate. At the Grandmother’s Table, guests will enjoy a Sunday lunch with Apulian dishes hosted by local mothers and grandmothers. Guests will also have access to the hotel’s nine-hole golf course, private beach club and Irene Forte Spa.

    The Balmoral is offering a curated “Scottish Gold” experience in Edinburgh. Guests will have exclusive access to Edinburgh’s jewelers and private access to The Balmoral’s rooftop to view the Clock Tower. The experience begins with a behind-the-scenes visit to Hamilton & Inches, the designers behind Edinburgh’s iconic Balmoral clock. Later, guests can enjoy a whiskey tasting at the Balmoral’s cozy bar, Scotch.

    Brown’s Hotel, known as the very first hotel in London, is a short walk away from Buckingham Palace. Brown’s has curated a regal experience where guests can enjoy a curated class with one of the Royal Family’s portrait artists. Guests will also have a chance to sit down for their own personal portrait.

    The Charles Hotel in Munich has curated a private night at the museum. Once the doors to the Lenbachhaus museum have closed for the day, contemporary art treasures are exclusively available to guests. The experience is followed by an exclusive dinner among well-known art pieces.

    Located on Bebelplatz, Hotel de Rome in Berlin is providing a behind-the-scenes experience at the State Opera, which finishes with champagne and canapes in the Meyerbeer salon. Guests will get exclusive access to this space, usually only accessed by the director of the opera.

    Located in the heart of Brussels, Hotel Amigo is offering a curated experience that allows guests to learn about bespoke jewelry from a certified gemologist and private jeweler. As a parting gift, guests will be given a precious stone of their choice. They can even commission a piece of jewelry as a keepsake.

    IHG marks 6,000 hotels milestone with new "club" to reward travellers

    IHG marks 6,000 hotels milestone with new "club" to reward travellers

    IHG is celebrating reaching its 6,000 open hotels milestone  by unveiling the ‘6,000 Club’ and announcing partnerships with major sports and entertainment events. The 6,000 Club features a collection of newly opened hotels around the world.

    Hotels in the 6,000 Club will celebrate the occasion in the coming months by surprising select guests with 6,000 IHG One Rewards points.

    Some of the hotels in the 6,000 Club are:

    *  Six Senses Fort Barwara – a beautiful 14th-century fort in India which was converted to become a sanctuary of well-being after a significant conservation effort

    *  Regent Phu Quoc – the first all-suites-and-villas resort under the upper luxury brand in Southeast Asia, located off the southwest coast of Vietnam alongside a UNESCO-designated World Biosphere Reserve

    *  Kimpton Margot Sydney  – marking the Australian debut for the brand, this art-deco hotel features a rooftop pool, wine bar, and a 1,725-square-foot “Celebrity Suite”

    *  voco The Hague – the first for the brand in Netherlands which includes a garden terrace designed by an expert ecologist who created a welcoming space for nature to thrive

    *  Atwell Suites Denver Airport - Tower Road – the second hotel to open for IHG’s newest all-suites brand, featuring signature design and adaptable spaces which support longer stays and allow for easy transition between business and leisure

    *  Staybridge Suites Al Khobar City - this all-suites hotel is located on the shores of the Arabian Gulf in the heart of the corporate and shopping hub of vibrant Al Khobar

    IHG also announced the launch of new "experience" partnerships, providing new ways to redeem IHG One Rewards points and celebrate the universal love of music and sports. Highlights include:

    *  The Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Reading and Leeds Festivals, Music Midtown, Ohana Festival: While watching live performances, attendees can enjoy exclusive benefits with IHG One Rewards including backstage access and time in VIP Lounges.

    *  Major League Soccer

    *  European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR).

    More details and images are available for the complete list of 6,000 Club members.

    Shangri-La Circle introduces monthly deals for "Members Day" | 6x points on the 6th of each month

    Shangri-La Circle introduces monthly deals for "Members Day" | 6x points on the 6th of each month

    Further to our note of January 19th, the revamped Shangri-La Circle loyalty program changed effective from 28 April 2022 to have:

    • tier status qualification based on either qualifying nights or tier points earned (effectively amount spent).
    • more flexibility to earn points from stays, F&B, Spa, Wellness and Shangri-La merchandise
    • rewards points will have a fixed earning rate and redemption value.
    A new Polaris invitation-only elite tier was also launched.  Benefits include unlimited access to Shangri-La facilities worldwide (even without staying overnight), a dedicated global Polaris concierge, Polaris Discovery experiences, and the ability to gift Diamond status (the highest status tier able to be earned).

    Shangri-La Circle has now added an additional benefit for all its members. The new Members Day will see the release of new offers that will only be available for 48 hours on the 6th day of each month, starting at 9am (Hong Kong Time) on the 6th and ending at 9am (Hong Kong Time) on the 8th. 

    For the inaugural Members Day, Shangri-La Circle will debut over 20 “staycation” packages bundled with curated dining and wellness experiences that allow guests to personalize their journeys. Members will be rewarded with 6 times the points when they book these offers through the dedicated Members Day website or Shangri-La Circle Mobile App. Additionally, Shangri-La Circle members in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei will receive six times the points when they shop at the Shangri-La Boutique during the 48-hour Members Day offer.

    These points can later be used for their next dining experience, weekend getaway or wellness escape.

    New members signing up will earn 300 bonus points with their first Shangri-La Circle experience and up to 1,500 additional bonus points with continued spending through July 31, 2022.

    T&C's apply, so be sure to read them.

    Six Senses Vana opens, providing Health and Healing in the Himalayan Foothills of India

    Six Senses Vana opens, providing Health and Healing in the Himalayan Foothills of India

    Established Indian destination spa and retreat Vana has been taken over by global hotel group Six Senses.

    The property in Dehradun, India, has since been renamed Six Senses Vana. Launched in 2014 it is a 21-acre wellness destination surrounded by clusters of Sal forest, and set within its own mango and lychee orchards. The retreat draws on ancient healing modalities from Ayurveda, Tibetan healing traditions and yoga to create bespoke schedules for every retreat attendee.

    Wellness facilities include a Tibetan Healing Centre, Ayurveda Centre, Yogasala, Wellness Centre, spa, private watsu pool, gym, thermal and wet areas, tennis courts, paths for walking and two slate-lined pools – including one on the rooftop with views over the forest and into the hills beyond.

    Along with the wellness and spa facilities, Six Senses Vana will also be a Cinema Paradiso, courts for various ball games, and experiences that tap into the retreat’s location to encourage movement and reconnection with nature.

    Exhibitions, visiting artists, and performances will also continue to be woven into the retreat’s programming.

    The destination features 82 rooms facing either the ancient forest or the garden and yoga temple, plus two restaurants and 55 treatment and consultation rooms.

    The new deal will see Six Senses Vana complement the brand’s debut property in India, Six Senses Fort Barwara in Rajasthan.  Sadly, neither of the India locations participate in the IHG One Rewards program. Sigh.  Decisions, decisions...

    At the time of writing, Six Senses properties that do participate in IHG One Rewards include:

    • Six Senses Yao Noi, Thailand.
    • Six Senses Laamu, Maldives.
    • Six Senses Botanique, Brazil.
    • Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam.
    • Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia.
    • Six Senses Fiji.
    • Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles.
    • Six Senses Kaplankaya, Turkey.
    • Six Senses Ibiza, Spain.
    • Six Senses Shaharut, Israel.
    • Six Senses Residences Courchevel, France (bookable now for the next season).
    • Six Senses Kanuhura, Maldives (once it opens later this year).

    About Six Senses

    Six Senses operates 21 hotels and resorts in 17 countries under the names of Six Senses and Evason and has signed a further 33 properties into the development pipeline. Six Senses maintains a leadership commitment to community, sustainability, emotional hospitality, wellness, and crafted experiences, infused with a touch of quirkiness. Whether an exquisite island resort, mountain retreat, or urban hotel, the vision remains the same: to reawaken people’s senses so they feel the purpose behind their travels and ultimately reconnect with themselves, others and the world around them. 

    In early 2019, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) acquired Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. However, not all Six Senses properies participate in the IHG One Rewards program. 

    Six Senses Spas guides guests on their personal path to well-being in all resorts as well as a handful of standalone spas. The high-tech and high-touch approach goes beyond ordinary beauty treatments to offer holistic wellness, integrative medicine, and longevity.

    GHA has a promotion for June 2022 - Unlock the Unforgettable - where you can save up to 40% at some destinations within its range of over 30 brands, which include ones we love, such as Anantara, Capella, Corinthia, Kempinski, Niccolo and Viceroy.

    Unlock the Unforgettable offers deals right around the globe.  

    For example, escape to Australia and NZ with up to 30% off for stays with Oaks booked prior to 31 August and completed prior to 30 September 2022.  Destinations include Brisbane, Port Stevens, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.  Even Auckland and Queenstown !

    GHA Discovery is free to join.  Learn more about the program from our Guide to GHA Discovery.

    T&C's apply for these offers, so ensure you...

    Preferred Hotels has launched a new Stay.Reward.Repeat promotion for I Prefer members to earn up to 15,000 bonus points for three stays each minimum of two nights.

    To earn the bonus you must register for this offer then book prior to September 30 for stays completed prior to 31 December 2022.  

    How the points add up:

    Stay 1: 2,500 bonus points
    Stay 2: 5,000 bonus points (7,500 cumulative bonus)
    Stay 3: 7,500 bonus points (15,000 cumulative bonus)

    The bonus points can be used for free nights and experiences around the world or for other travel opportunities like I Prefer Auctions and Reward Certificates.

    T&C's apply.