The StarChefs.com Hotel Guide

by Emily Bell, Kathleen Culliton, Jessica Dukes, and Francoise Villeneuve
Will Blunt and Antoinette Bruno
May 2011

Between yearly tastings all over the country and exploratory excursions around the globe, we tend to get around, taking (and eating and drinking) in a city or region’s culture and cuisine—not to mention racking up serious frequent flier miles. We’re also constantly entrusting ourselves—comfort, carry-ons, and all—to that home-away-from home of the hospitality industry: the hotel. With years of travel behind us (and many more in front of us), we thought we would share some of our insight and experience of hotels in the 21st century.

We’ve categorized the hotels below based on a few marquee trends and tendencies within the industry, but idiosyncrasies (of service, design, structure, etc.) abound even within these categories. And that’s no surprise. Hotels cater to weary business travelers and wide-eyed, camera-snapping tourists alike; accommodation is the name of the game. Beyond providing the basic tenets of hospitality (amenities, adorably small toiletries, and a healthy dash of escapism), hotels around the globe are increasingly providing their guests with a definitive sense of place. Whether they’re eco-friendly, female-friendly, art-chic, or built on “we-mean-business” efficiency, well-articulated hotel concepts will keep guests (and us) coming back, year after year. (Especially if there’s a high-thread count involved).

Hotels for Women

Eighty percent of all travel decisions are made by women. As wives and mothers planning family vacations, as business women trekking solitary paths across the globe, or as thrill-seekers in search of adventure, women are increasingly taking control of the travel market. Court their business and make your fortune. But what do women want? Read more on women travelers.

Green Hotels

With leaders in the industry implementing local, sustainable, and environmentally responsible practices, it’s inevitable that more and more mainstream hotels—from efficiency to ultra-luxe—will learn to incorporate green practices. Read more on green hotels.

Business Hotels

Business travelers mean major business—40 percent of hotel customers in 2009 were business travelers, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. And that’s before you even look at the dollar amounts flowing into your hotel as a result of conventions and industry events. But business travel is fraught with stress. Read more on business hotels.

Hotel Design

Studies show to earn that highest level of guest perception, the “memorable experience”, hotels have to connect with the guest with a message. Beyond the functional and the sensorial, hotel design must be “meaning-oriented.” Read more on hotel design.