Since I spend a lot of time here bashing unethical, incompetent, or just stupid companies, I like to take occassional pause to salute firms who are really doing a good job. And as a frequent traveller, I especially appreciate companies that make the harried life of the road warrior someone easier. One of my favorites, Kimpton Hotels, the San Francisco-based nationwide chain of boutique hotels that include names like The Monaco and The Palomar. You can find Kimpton Hotels at www.kimptonhotels.com (sign up for their frequent stayer program). They have hotels in most major cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami, Portland, Seattle, Boston, and soon in Atlanta, and Philadelphia.
The beauty of Kimpton is that unlike most chains, every hotel is a little different, but they have developed great consistency in the comfort of the rooms, amenities, and customer service. They primarily rehab old historic buildings, so the lobbies are always interesting, and in the evenings they sponsor free wine tastings. The rooms have terrific beds, flat screen televisions, iPod stereos, big robes, and very nice bathrooms. Somehow they manage to infuse the staff with enthusiasm and a great sense of customer service. And value is a big part of the Kimpton brand. For about the price of a cookie-cutter Hilton or Marriott you can stay at a Kimpton.