Subject: Re: luxury hotels
Fellow luxury lovers:

My favorite hotel, anywhere, is the Stafford in London. It is just off Green Park on St. James Place and is absolutely charming. The staff is always friendly, attentive and accommodating. Frank, the concierge, has won concierge of the year awards and his monthly column posted on their web site regarding restaurants, theater and other events is a great resource that anyone can take advantage of: (click on concierge).

The hotel received some publicity following September 11 as their manager provided complementary accommodation to guests who were unable to return to the US while flights were suspended. This year he offered complementary nights for inaugural passengers on the QM2. The ambiance of the hotel is more that of a country house, yet just steps from Picadilly.

The printed matter in the rooms is evidence of their sense of humor (which is also evident on portions of their web site, particularly the areas that cover their executive director Terry Holmes) - there are cards in the rooms with essential phone numbers in London, including Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street; you also are supplied with a set of business cards listing The Stafford as your home whilst in London. We stayed there last December and my husband was in the market for a discontinued Pink Floyd DVD. One of the hall porter staff researched shops that sold used DVD's for him and even made phone calls regarding availability - all this from just a casual mention. And for sheer indulgence and beautiful surroundings, the hands down winner is explora lodge in Patagonia. For ultra comfort in the middle of nowhere it can't be beat! You can soak in your tub after a long day's hike with a stunning view of the Torres del Paine - then saunter down to the open bar for a Pisco sour and a briefing with a gorgeous Chilean guide regarding your exploration options for the next day, followed by a fabulous dinner.

Leslie Santa Fe (and Chicago)