The Plaza hotel launches first Virtual Concierge app on iPads

The iPad is certainly making its way around the hotel circuit. Next on the saucy gadget’s list: The Plaza, one of New York City’s top luxury hotels. And when the iPad enters the Plaza, the iPad does it in style.

The Plaza’s iPads will feature the first virtual concierge application available on the iPad, thanks to software from Intelity’s Interactive Customer Solution programs. Guests will be able to use the in-room iPads to order room service, make restaurant reservations, communicate with the concierge, request wake-up calls, read New York City destination guides, order room service, make a spa appointment, and even check airline schedules and print boarding passes.

Each of The Plaza’s iPads will feature a multimedia video welcome and will also be pre-loaded with applications including newspapers and magazines.

“For over 100 years, The Plaza has set the standard for luxury and since opening our doors, guests at our hotel experienced many firsts in travel. Today, luxury is being redefined to not only include actual products but how something enhances an experience or fulfills a need,” said Shane Krige, general manager of The Plaza, in a statement. “Guests can now enjoy in-demand, innovative technology and access to our five-star offerings at their convenience – a true luxury for many.”

The iPads featuring the new ICE Virtual Concierge technology will be available in all of The Plaza’s guest rooms and suites in September 2010.

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The Plaza Hotel launches its own fragrance line

You’re used to luxury hotels offering up customized amenities like bath salts and slippers, but would you want to smell like your favorite hotel?

New York‘s landmark hotel, The Plaza, introduced its signature scent last month. Appropriately called “The Plaza,” the eau de parfum was created exclusively for the hotel by Krigler, a popular New York City-based fragrance house.

The New York Times blog writes:

“We wanted to create a modern fragrance that appeals to the senses and characteristics that the Plaza Hotel embodies: grace, beauty, elegance and style,” said Kristin Franzese, executive vice president of retail. She also alluded to the hotel’s best selling bath robes and linens as inspiration for the luxurious new souvenir. “People love to leave with a little piece of history.”

The signature scent is a blend of bergamot, grapefruit and iris, with amber and leather undertones. Guests can buy the perfume exclusively at the hotel’s store, Plaza Beauty, for $95 for a 1.7-ounce bottle. It’s also available as a soap ($18) or candle ($65).

Five quick trip splurges to take with the Amazing Race’s million dollar win

Now that Victor and Tammy have discovered that they get along with each other quite nicely, AND they’ve won the million dollar prize on Amazing Race 14, they could pool their resources for some dandy vacations and have plenty of money left over for two houses and the stock market. This is the time to buy. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

Let’s say that Victor and Tammy only have a few days to squeeze in between their Amazing Race trip wins– considering that they came in first place five times and won trips for most of their Pit Stop triumphs. Just in case they are stumped about where else to go, I’ve thought of five places I’d head to in the U.S. if I were them. It doesn’t hurt to dream a little. Stay tuned for where I’d go in the world.

  • New York, New York: Spend three nights at the Plaza Hotel overlooking Fifth Avenue in New York City. For the summer, if you book two nights, the third is free. To add to the luxury, stay in the 2 Bedroom Suite with 5th Ave view Dining, 2 baths, butler service and a pantry. For the two nights that’ll be $7,000, not including tax and gratuity. Still that leaves a lot of moola for New York City fun.
  • Yountville, California: Dine at the French Laundry in Napa Valley, California. Ever since I read about Scott Haas’s experience dining here in his book Are We There Yet?, I’ve been salivating. Each day there are two new nine-course tasting menus. Haas spent more than $400.00 for his family of four. The tasting menu is $240 a person. Here’s today’s. Yum! Where to stay suggestion: Yountville Inn. There’s a Superior Room with two queen-size beds with breakfast included and complimentary wine tasting. Napa Valley would be a wonderful place for some R&R to celebrate a race.
  • Ogunquit, Maine: One of the first places I went on a solo adventure was Ogunquit. I didn’t stay, but visited a friend who was working there at a resort hotel. It was gorgeous. The Juniper Hill Inn is a beach front property within walking distance to the historic downtown and the Marginal Way, the path that leads to Perkins Cove. With a two-night stay you can get the Theater Package that includes two tickets to John Lane’s Ogunquit Playhouse, a summer theater outing. The most expensive rooms are less than $250 so there’s plenty of chump change for lobster and steamed clams to dip in butter. For the best of the best, MC Perkins Cove has a menu that’s sublime.
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: Whatever else Tammy & Victor decide to do in New Orleans, they need to eat breakfast at Brennan’s. I did that once, and it’s an experience not to forget. There are also many options for Creole style fine-dining, and a city that has a personality like no others. For slumber, my dreams point to a deluxe King room at The Avenue Garden Hotel in the Garden District. For $124 a night for a King bed Deluxe room, Tammy and Victor can certainly afford a room each.
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico: Friends of mine once said that said Santa Fe is the only place they’ve been that makes them feel like shopping. Seriously, this is probably the most aesthetically pleasing city in the U.S. My hands down favorite thing to do there besides linger at the Museum of International Folk Art is spend a couple hours at Ten Thousand Waves, a Japanese style spa and retreat center. La Fonda Hotel on the Plaza has a gorgeous restaurant, La Plazuela with superb eats. For luxury, the hotel has La Terreza rooms and suites on the top floor that includes a roof top patio. A suite is $595.

Luxury hotels in NYC offering a free night stay

“Strike when the iron is hot” is a proverb for these times when it comes to taking advantage of a travel bargain. Cruises aren’t the only places to find a deal–even if the deal may start off pricey.

For those heading to New York City before February 28, ten luxury hotels are offering a third night free when you book two nights. This can be a hefty savings of more than $300. Sure, you have to come up with enough money for the two nights, but there are inexpensive things to do the city which can take off the sting off the sticker price.

The participating hotels are:

To take advantage of these deals called “Signature Collection Third Night,” click on this link for the promotional code for the hotel of your choice.

Making a reservation over the phone is recommended. In addition to the third night free, guests who take advantage of the offer, receive other deals at places like Saks Fifth Avenue where you can get a free cup of coffee and a complimentary dessert at the store’s Cafe SFA.