Friday, September 16, 2011

And THIS is Why I Love the Ritz-Carlton

Yes, it’s been way too long. No, it hasn’t been because I lack inspiration – there’s tons to write about.  Now motivation to sit still and actually write? Hmmm, well let's see it’s kept me from you for EEP – over a year???!!  No way. It hasn’t really been a year. Oh my.

Ok, we can recover from this. Right now.

I’m hoping you know that yesterday the Ritz-Carlton launched a gorgeous revamped website and a brand new “Let Us Stay With You” campaign.  And if you didn’t, well now you do.

Just so we’re clear – this campaign WON the moment they went live. Everything that attracts us to travel - the romance, the memories, the adventure, the experiences, the glamour are completely captured by this campaign. Bravo to the Ladies & Gentlemen of the Ritz-Carlton. This is the most romantic piece of advertising I’ve experienced in ages.

The moment I followed their advice to “close your eyes” I remembered watching 4th of July fireworks from the deck of the Presidential Suite in New Orleans. I remembered making fast friends with the most personable Club Level staff ever in Atlanta & them insisting on using their car service to take my cousin to a venue when we simply inquired about the location/directions. I remembered losing time while discovering my inner "pool bum" at the pool in South Beach & watching the sun rise there.  I remembered the amazing experiences & exceptional service that made me fall in love with the Ritz-Carlton. Oh yeah, they “stay” with me. Always.

The fabulous, easy to navigate redesign of the website made me immediately start looking around to see where I could visit next.  Wouldn’t you?

Now a few weeks ago I couldn’t find a package I really wanted for my upcoming my birthday trip with my Mom & Aunt. While a package is my preference,  I was quite happy with our standard room at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation.  I mean look at these pictures of the resort. Plus the trip is a gift from my Mom so I want to keep it reasonable.  We got a good rate for a resort that frequently gets included on the Condé Nast Traveler “Gold List” – happy times.

As I was playing around on the new Ritz-Carlton site last night, I decided to recheck the rates for our stay. What did I have to lose? Lo & behold my favorite package “Reconnect” has been rebranded and is now the “Discover With You” package. And it was now available during our dates of travel to the Lodge!

I think I’ve written about this before but it’s worth mentioning again – this package is one of the easiest way to make a stay at a Ritz-Carlton more affordable. Particularly if you travel in “shoulder” seasons. It includes breakfast and a daily credit that can be used for food and other various amenities like the spa, depending on the resort.

Let’s talk real math here. I know we’re going to eat breakfast at hotel. This could cost me (yes me) $20-30 per person. I know we’re going to eat lunch or dinner there. This could cost me $30 per person. I know we may go to the spa. This could cost around $150 for me (hey I’ll pay for food but I’m not paying for all the Spa treatments on MY birthday trip).

Our package includes breakfast for 2 daily PLUS a $100 credit that we can use for meals and/or the Spa. That means we save around $160/day. The increase in daily rate for upgrading to the package is $70. Yes, $70. Basically what we’d spend on breakfast for 3 anyway. PLUS we get a S'mores Kit as a welcome gift! Yeah, I knew the s'mores would make you jealous. And I told you about it anyway. Plus I'm telling you there's a campfire lit at night. Cuz you needed to know that. 

So yes, when you get down to it they’re paying me almost $100 a day. I just have to spend what I’ve earned with them.  Here lies the upside for the hotel: I spend my money there & not elsewhere providing a beautiful win-win and what I’m certain will be a wonderful birthday experience with two of my most favorite people in the world.

This package, plus many other great ones, are available at most Ritz-Carlton properties. Depending on the time of year & your flexibility these deals can be just as lucrative for you.

Disclaimer: Any subsequent Ritz-Carlton addiction which then makes you book with or without a package is completely their fault for being so fabulous. Please remember I only took  you to the fabulous stream of spring water. I didn’t make you drink its delicious nectar or fall in love with it almost exclusively. I did not.

My “TripTip”:
“Always be checking” – is my motto when it comes to travel.  ALWAYS recheck the rates for your stay.  Savvy travelers save a LOT of money this way.