Friday, March 18, 2011

Upscale Hotels Renting Rooms By The Hour

Chicago Tribune: With the economy tanking, upscale hotels are taking advantage of the daytime hours by offering tourists a place to rest, wait, prepare or snuggle.

Manhattan's posh Le Parker Meridien has rooms that overlook Central Park. Understandably, the hotel's spicy promotion just before and after Valentine's Day raised eyebrows — $150 for a four-hour stay between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Included in the package, where rooms with views ordinarily start at $379, were movies on demand, a Champagne split, and strawberries with whipped cream. It was a sellout success.

The Marcel, a boutique hotel in Manhattan's historic Gramercy Park, offers power naps for the rich and famous. For a flat rate of $150, entertainers performing at nearby venues can book rooms to shower, rest or order room service before performances. The flat rate is open to others based on availability; overnight rates run as high as $400.

If you shop till you drop in trendy Malibu, Calif., the Malibu Beach Inn has a $270 day rate (including a three-course lunch and a cabana room where you can take off your shoes just steps from the sand). Prices for oceanfront rooms ordinarily start at $385 a night.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. The visitors bureau couldn't name one upscale hotel with day rates.

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