What are Tony Abou-Ganim’s favorite hotels?
I kind of try to spread it out a little bit because I do spend a lot of time in hotels. I actually bought a Heavenly bed for my home, just so I could feel at home when I'm home since I spend so much time in hotel beds. Starwood hotels have always been a favorite. I think Marriott does a fabulous job with their hotels, Renaissance and Ritz. Those are all fabulous places.
I was just at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas. I was in Dallas for a day doing a seminar, and I walked in and they greeted me by name. They remembered the last time I was there. They had a cold coffee drink and a warm cookie for me, took me to my room, showed me around. To me, it's about feeling at home when you're on the road.
Places that don't charge for Internet — I'm always a big fan of that. All the places I mention, I'd like to have a little gym. It doesn't have to be a real exclusive, expensive gym, but I need to have something that I can at least kind of break a sweat, so I look for that. But really, Starwood has a beautiful collection of hotels in their family, something for every budget. Usually, that's the place I look first.
I was just in Los Angeles and stayed at The Roosevelt. They're dog-friendly, so I drove down and I took my dog. He had a great time. I have a friend that runs a bar there. Good restaurants. It was a good feel. When I'm in San Francisco, Sir Francis Drake is always home to me there — it's an older hotel. I think the Kimpton Hotel Group for smaller, boutique-y hotels does a great job. Again, very good at remembering your name and how you like your pillows. Free Internet. Coffee in the morning is always a plus in the lobby. I always like places that put out coffee. You know, I think I just like places that go that little extra mile for you.
I stayed in South Beach at the W, which was great. They've got a Living Room there, which is really wonderful. I was there for a week, and it was great — so much so, that I was in New Orleans for a week and I stayed at the W. So, I think, I don't know why, but I kind of lean towards the W. But, if there's a Kimpton Hotel around, I love the Kimpton Hotel group out of San Francisco.
And I guess I kind of buy into the Starwood hotels, trying to accrue points. You know, I know some people that are very anal about that. A lot of times, my hotels are booked by clients, so I get to stay in some pretty nice places. Again, Halekulani in Waikiki. It's one of those places where, the minute you get out of the cab from the airport, and the bellmen greet you at the guest stand — 'nice to see you,' your name, they're ready for you at the check-in. They take you up to your room; they've got a little something for you. When you stay at Halekulani in Waikiki, you pay a little bit more for it; but, to me, if for a nickel more you go first class, then definitely go first class.