Category Archives: Omni Hotels

Omni wins Amelia Island Plantation auction

An auction was held Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to decide the future owner of Amelia Island Plantation. After a spirited standing-room-only auction Omni Hotels emerged as the successful bidder for the storied north Florida beach resort. 

Amelia Island Plantation, located just 29 miles north of Jacksonville International Airport, is a 1,350-acre property that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean on the east and the Intracoastal Waterway on the west. The 249-room resort features 54 holes of championship golf, a tennis center, spa, and 50,000 square feet of meeting space.

Upgrade your game plan for hotel upgrades

Just because you booked a standard room, doesn’t mean you have to stay in one. Here are some ways to sleep better.

Go where there are empty rooms

During the economic downturn, certain destinations have had lower occupancy rates, particularly those with high room counts: Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, Hawaii and Orlando, Florida. Likewise, look to resorts in the off- and shoulder seasons, when fewer suites are booked.


Go standby

Hyatt allows guests booking on to pay a small fee — as little as $30 — for the chance at a space-available upgrade. Hilton Worldwide has a similar program.

Be card savvy

At many hotels, booking with a Centurion or Platinum card from American Express can get you a better room, in some cases automatically. Charging everyday purchases on a hotel-affiliated credit card can help you earn upgrades, too — regardless of whether you’re actually staying at the hotel.

Use your connections

Look beyond AAA and AARP memberships to affiliations you might not expect. Lexus and Saks First cardholders are sometimes eligible for upgrades at Fairmont hotels. If you bank with Merrill Lynch, UBS or HSBC, you can often book an upgraded Ritz-Carlton package though the banks’ member benefits programs. Occasionally, hotels partner with airlines in ways that benefit you, too. Business- and first-class passengers on Singapore Airlines flights, for example, get automatic upgrades at Raffles hotels.

Check in later

The later you check in after noon (when most hotels require guests to check out), the better your chances for securing an upgrade, especially if you’re staying only one night. Plus, it’s more likely that housekeeping has turned over rooms.

Be loyal

Many hotel chains give priority to their loyalty program members based on how often they stay at their hotels. Make sure you use your loyalty member number every time you book, particularly at large chains such as Starwood, Omni, and Loews.

Tom Costello is the CEO, Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook or contact him by email.

Hotels rolling out more amenities for kids

More hotels are catering to vacationers traveling with children.

A travel research firm says last year leisure travelers made up 54 percent of the hotel industry’s business. Hotels are responding by rolling out more amenities for children.

Hotels run by Marriott will begin distributing free activity books and character bracelets to child guests. Marriott has also started offering items for people traveling with toddlers such as crib sheets and bath toys.

Omni Hotels also give away free goodie bags for its younger guests. And Swissotel has expanded its kids’ room service. It now has rooms suited for three age groups: babies, small children and teenagers.

The rooms include items like cribs, baby monitors and strollers for young children nd age-appropriate movies, snacks, magazines, board games or gaming systems for children aged 6 to 18.

Omni's signature spas make Conde Nast top spa list

Two Omni Hotels & Resorts signature spas were named to the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler 2010 Top Spas List.

The Mokara Salon & Spa at the Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas in the Dallas area ranked number eight on the  top hotel spas in North America. The luxury spa, which opened in 2007, features customizable treatments utilizing a unique assortment of product lines, such as Skin Ceuticals, June Jacobs and Peter Thomas Roth. Additionally, Mokara offers signature services indigenous to the region, embracing the spirit and flavor of Texas with the Sweet Tea Body Gloss, Cactus Pear Moisture Wrap, Pecan & Brown Sugar Manicure and Ruby Red Reviver Pedicure.

The Watermark Spa at the Watermark Hotel & Spa, located on San Antonio’s historic River Walk, ranked number 17 on the list of the top hotel spas in North America. As the only world-class spa in the heart of downtown San Antonio, the Watermark Spa is a 17,000 square foot oasis which redefines spa luxury with its exquisite treatments, experienced therapists and elegant, sophisticated decor. In January 2010, the hotel and spa were also included in Conde Nast Traveler’s prestigious Gold List of the World’s Best Places to Stay.

Omni expands portfolio with addition of luxury brand Mokara

Omni will launch Mokara, a new line of luxury properties as part of its expanding brand portfolio. 

The world-class Watermark Hotel & Spa located in San Antonio, Texas, will be the first, being rebranded as Mokara, while continuing to deliver its award-winning, highly personalized service and outstanding spa experiences.  The new brand is another milestone in a period of aggressive growth for Omni Hotels & Resorts.

Mokara will serve as an oasis which redefines luxury.  Whether located in the desert or in an urban setting, guests will be able to refresh, revive and rejuvenate.  From lush creature comforts and exceptional one-on-one service to premium spa treatments, yoga classes, wellness programs and exceptional cuisine, guests will be able to briefly “unplug” from their hectic schedules for some much deserved rest and relaxation.  Mokara will also serve as an ideal setting for executive business retreats.

Nestled on the banks of the famed San Antonio River Walk, the soon to be branded Mokara has been honored by Forbes Travel Guide as the only Four Star hotel and spa in San Antonio, Texas; consistently listed among the top by Travel + Leisure magazine, being ranked in 2009 as the number two hotel among “Small City Hotels;” and was included in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2010 “Gold List” for the fourth consecutive year.