The Peninsula Beverly Hills, 9882 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, Calif.; (310) 551-2888. Expensive.
Los Angeles has hotels to fit every conceivable niche of the entertainment business, from the Chateau Marmont to the SLS, but the Peninsula remains the industry's hub. The reason is a commitment to business services that borders on the obsessive: faxes with private numbers in every room, an airport concierge to choreograph arrivals and departures (all guests who use the hotel's airport concierge service have use of airline first-class lounges, even if they aren't travelling first class), specialized private trainers (including kick-boxing instructors) and a baggage-shipping service that lets jet-setters have their business clothes pressed and waiting on arrival. The complimentary Rolls-Royce for shopping excursions doesn't hurt, either.
The Heathman, 1001 SW Broadway; Portland, Ore.; (503) 241-4100. Best mid-range.
The best hotel in a mid-sized American city traditionally occupies an important place in the city's business life. Executives meet there for breakfast, local companies hold meetings, parties and dinners, and the lobby serves as a civic gathering place. While standbys such as Milwaukee's Pfister and Dallas' Adolphus have seen their influence erode, Portland's Heathman has become more vital than ever, and thoroughly high-tech. The centre of Portland's arts scene, the hotel hosts jazz lunches and serves as an ever-evolving gallery space for local artists. Eight private boardrooms offer Wi-Fi (as well as fully wired connections for uneasy CFOs), and guest-room connections are complimentary, along with loose-leaf tea and French-press coffee.
The Peninsula Chicago, 108 E. Superior St., Chicago; (312) 337-2888. Expensive.
Peninsula only has three North American properties, and two made this list. Chicago's is a grand, European-style palace of a hotel, with Murano chandeliers and closets as big as entire rooms at other hotels in town. But its soul is that of an intimate inn. Guests are addressed by name - which can seem like logistical sleight-of-hand but still never fails to make them feel good - and their preferences for everything from placement of bath toiletries to room layout are noted and catered to. Meeting space includes an outdoor terrace and private rooms in two of the hotel's four restaurants. Some guests claim to return for the spa and fitness program alone: It includes resort-style treatments and more than 30 yoga and Pilates classes weekly. Rooms are luxurious - the bathroom has a hands-free phone.
Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, 3100 South St. NW, Washington, D.C.; (202) 912-4100. Expensive.
Most D.C. hotels are as dull as a politician's blue suit, but this Ritz-Carlton swaggers in a singular setting - a retrofitted brick incinerator - that allows guests to make a statement about individuality without sacrificing comfort or service. Boutique-sized (just 86 rooms) and within walking distance to Georgetown's commercial area and nightlife, the hotel also offers Town Car service to get you to the Metro and beyond. Rooms are large, many with views of the Potomac, and business benefits include international newspapers and an on-site DHL desk, as well as Ritz-Carlton's usual superb concierge staff.
Westin Bellevue, 600, Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, Wash.; (425) 638-1000. Mid-range.
In the heart of Seattle's fast-growing Eastside, this coolly appointed 337-room Westin is ideal for visitors to Microsoft, T-Mobile, Expedia and other nearby companies, as well as to the upscale Lincoln Square mixed-use development it anchors. The lobby has the feel of the corporate headquarters of some booming dotcom and the strawberry-infused water flows freely. Rooms are bright and cozy, with super-sized windows and the chain's plush Heavenly Bed. Guest-office suites come outfitted with communications centres.
- Value: Average nightly room rate less than $150.
- Mid-range: Average rate $150 to $300 per night.
- Expensive : More than $300 per night.
Bruce Schoenfeld, a contributing editor for Travel + Leisure, has been travelling for business for nearly 30 years.
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