Leading Hotels of the World launches benefits program for luxury hotels

Luxury travel isn’t going anywhere. In fact, one hotel group believes luxury travelers will pay extra for the value and service they get at luxury hotels, which is why they’re adding a fee to their membership program.

The Leading Hotels of the World, which comprises 430 unique independent hotels and resorts worldwide, announced additional benefits for members of its Leaders Club but eliminated the free aspect of joining their club.

According to the hotel, “In addition to their existing benefits – ability to earn free nights; early check-in, late check-out; room upgrades; welcome gifts and exclusive rates – Leaders Club members will now be able to enjoy daily complimentary continental breakfast for two and complimentary Internet access at all Leading Hotels.”

The cost of the enriched benefits? An annual $100 for an Access level membership and $1,200 for an Unlimited level membership.
Members with Access level will enjoy complimentary continental breakfast for two each day, complimentary Internet access, complimentary nights (based on point accumulation), access to member-only rates, early check-in/late check-out, invitations to club events and specially created experiences. Unlimited level gets all of the above plus the guarantee of a room upgrade at time of booking.

According to USA Today, Leading Hotels first began revamping its loyalty program in late 2009. By December, Leading Hotels quietly showed their loyal members a little love with one free night in any of its hotel after five paid stays within a calendar year.

Daily Pampering: Super-luxe golf packages from Leading Hotels of the World

If you love golf, take a few minutes and join the Leaders Club, the membership club for Leading Hotels of the World. Why? Because it’s free, but you have to be a member to book one of their Signature Events.

The Signature Events series includes golf excursions to some of the most famous and exquisite courses in the world, all accompanied by stays at fabulous resorts and non-golf activities worth trips in their own right.

The first Signature Event will take place this August 10-14 at The Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa in St. Andrews, Scotland. Golfers can play the legendary 17th “Road Hole,” or take advantage of the well-renowned nearby courses such as Kingsbarns, the Duke’s Course and the Castle Course. The four-day itinerary includes wine tastings, a champagne reception, lunches, two dinners, and all the quaint St. Andrews charm one could possibly imagine. Inclusive prices for golfers are $4,995 and $3,295 for non-golfers, based on double occupancy. Sadly, this first event is already sold out.

But don’t despair! Further upcoming Signature Events include PGA Centenary Course and Gleneagles Hotel in September and La Cana and the brand new Corales oceanside course (above) at Punta Cana Resort & Club with a villa at Tortuga Bay in November. Both include greens fees, extraordinary experiences for non-golfers and extravagant accommodations. Click here for more information.

Want more? Get your daily dose of pampering right here.

“Save the date” now and save at Leading Hotels of the World

The Leading Hotels of the World group represents hundreds of properties, on every continent, in over 75 countries. 70 of these hotels are participating in the group’s “Save the Date” promotion, going on now through December 31. Book a stay before that date for travel from January 1 to March 31, 2010 and you’ll save 30-50%. The discount varies per hotel and minimum stay requirements apply.

Relax at the Encantado, a boutique hotel set on 57 acres in Santa Fa, watch the sun set from your terrace at Shutters on the Beach in Los Angeles, drink Guinness in Dublin and then retire to your room at the Westbury, or take in the sights of Tokyo from your room with a view at the Imperial Hotel.

The website lists several other current deals, most of which are valid through the end of the year. The “One More Night” promo will get you three nights for the price of two, four for the price of three, or seven for the price of five. Other deals will get you 30-50% off certain properties, a $100 spa credit, or a free round of golf.

Korean shopping deal just what you need in a recession

Here’s proof that the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. Imagine a left hand holding nail polish while the right is rotting. The Shilla Seoul hotel is offering a “Shopping at the Shilla” package for around $205 a night through October 31, 2009. The duty free shopping trip includes plenty of stuff, such as a deluxe room, breakfast for two and a VIP Gold Card for the Duty Free Shop, with discounts of 5 to 15 per cent (and some other stuff).

Now, the next bit is from a press release, so it must be true. The Shilla Seoul is consistently voted South Korea‘s leading hotel (which leads me to believe it’s one of the best in both Koreas … but that’s just a guess). And, why wouldn’t it be? It’s part of the Leading Hotels of the World chain. The name says it all.

Now, back to that press release … it says that you should go to LHW’s website to take advantage of this deal. But, if you can believe it, the press release lies!!! (Or, maybe it’s just wrong). I couldn’t find it on the LHW site, but it turned up on The Shilla Seoul’s website. I shouldn’t be surprised at this debacle, given LHW’s awesome track record with the Internet.

It’s probably worth looking for this deal, because North Korea‘s Ryugyong Hotel isn’t open yet. The Shilla Seoul is probably going to be the top hotel on the peninsula for a while (at least if you believe LHW’s publicist).