Upscale hotels flirt with hourly rates

Published on: April 14, 2012 | Last Updated on April 23, 2017
Room overlooking Central Park at the Parker Meridien

Room overlooking Central Park at the Parker Meridien

With the economy tanking, upscale hotels are taking advantage of the daytime hours by offering tourists a place to rest, wait, prepare or snuggle —at hourly rates.

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.

“One customer called and asked if she could book it every weekend,” said Marisa Zafran, hotel marketing director.

But that hotel isn’t alone. 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 your cruise departs from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., you may want to relax at the Ritz-Carlton, where in-season overnight rates start at $409. For $250, you can book an oceanfront cabana to sunbathe, relax and take advantage of all spa amenities (including showers).

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.

At the Hotel Plaza Athenee on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, suites can run $6,600 a night. Located close to Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Bloomingdale’s, day rates range from $250-$450 based on occupancy and time of year.

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

[This article was published in The Chicago Tribune on March 3, 2011.]

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