View of Midtown Manhattan from the Lotte New York Palace.

Lotte New York Palace | Luxury Hotel Review

Palace New York Hotel

Formerly the Helmsley Palace and then the New York Palace, today the Lotte New York Palace, in my opinion, has neglected attention to detail, unlike the previous owners.

Lotte New York Palace Address

The Lotte New York Palace is located at 455 Madison Avenue at 50th Street, New York, NY 10022. Customers can choose between booking rooms or suites in the Palace or Towers.

When we had stayed in the New York Palace and the Helmsley Palace, the hotel lobby and rooms gleamed, and you could usually depend on excellent service.

However, last year at the Lotte New York Palace, I was disappointed when I presented my room confirmation and tried to check-in. The front desk receptionist informed us that she would return, and she exited through a door and closed it. She had left us for about ten minutes.

King Bed Corner Cathedral View Room

Lotte New York Palace Corner Cathedral View Room overlooks St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Though I had booked a corner room for the holiday season two months in advance, the receptionist returned and informed us that the corner room was unavailable because it had water damage. She said that they had another place for us.

When we asked to see the damage, she exited again. She returned and told us that we had to take the room that they offered, though it lacked the view of the one that we had booked.

Although we were disappointed, the management had sent a gift basket to our new room, and we appreciated the gesture.

Lotte New York Palace Towers

Corner Towers suite at the Lotte Hotel

A Towers suite at the Lotte New York Palace offers a Manhattan skyline view.

The next morning, one of the employees admitted that someone had reserved the entire floor that included our confirmed room. They offered to upgrade us to a Towers suite. We felt that they went out of their way to compensate us, and we loved the suite’s extra space.

The Lotte Palace offers upscale amenities.

Lotte Palace offers Morton Brown personal care items.

In December 2017, we revisited the Lotte New York Palace. When I entered our room’s bathroom, I noticed that it smelled sour. I called housekeeping, and when we left for dinner, they freshened it.

View of Manhattan New York from the Palace New York hotel

Corner Cathedral View Room with one king bed overlooks St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Manhattan.

Another disappointment was that while most luxury and non-luxury hotels provide two pillows per guest, housekeeping had supplied only one along with a decorative pillow. My husband and I felt that it made sleeping a little uncomfortable, but we didn’t bother to request more.

Though we have had some issues with this hotel, we still love the Lotte New York Palace because the location is within walking distance of Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, and the iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In addition, over the years we have noticed staff members from the previous hotels still working for the Lotte Palace. One employee that we know has been working for the Palace for over thirty years. We think that makes a statement about mutual loyalty.

The Christmas tree at the Lotte Palace is decorated with white lights and red and gold ornaments.

Lotte Palace is decorated for Christmas and the holidays.

Lotte New York Palace Christmas and Holiday Season

People flock to see the Palace decked out in holiday décor. Lighted garland with red ribbons and gold balls frame entranceways and wrap railings. Red and gold lighted Christmas trees are displayed throughout and live classical music drifts through the lobby.

If you are in Manhattan during Christmas or the holiday season, the Lotte is a must-see.Ã

Two Traveling Texans
Belmond El Encanto is a beautiful wedding venue.

Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara, California, Hotel Review

Belmond El Encanto, “Santa Barbara’s only Forbes Five-Star resort,” comprises 92 suites or rooms that huddle in the hills below the Santa Ynez mountains and overlook Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean like sentinels. Though it opened in 1918, the resort was sold to Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. in 2004 and had undergone a seven-year refurbishment.

The gardens at Belmond El Encanto are filled with palm trees and succulents.

The Belmond El Encanto gardens are rich with greenery.

Rates start at $525 per night and hotel packages are available. A $35 per night resort fee gave us access to WI-FI, motorized bikes, the El Encanto spa and gym, the daily local paper, an in-room Nespresso coffee machine, bottled water, garden tours, backyard games, shoe shining, and shuttle transportation. We used all of the amenities except for the motorized bikes, garden tours, backyard games, and shoe shining. We especially enjoyed making espresso in our room.

Belmond El Encanto is a luxury hotel in Santa Barbara.

Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara, California, offers luxury and serenity.

I had booked late for a Memorial Day weekend wedding, and I was initially disappointed that I wasn’t able to reserve a room in town within walking distance of bars and restaurants. That changed when we arrived at this hillside oasis. We entered the expansive lobby, located in the main building, through a flower-covered arbor. The receptionist welcomed us with a smile and ensured us that the staff was available to assist us.

Belmond El Encanto is a luxury resort.

Flower-filled gardens line the walkway at Belmond El Encanto.

We followed the bellman along curved brick walkways lined with gardens brimming with succulents, purple lilies, ferns, and canopied palms. We passed a pond where orange fish darted among water lilies, turtles sunned themselves on rocks, and a pair of ducks waddled. This was the perfect venue for a Belmond El Encanto wedding.

An arbor surrounds the pond at Belmond El Encanto

The Arbor and Lily Pond pond at Belmond El Encanto is a beautiful venue for an outdoor wedding.

We approached our bungalow covered with a red tile roof and equipped with a patio decked with two chairs and a table. We entered the living room furnished with a sofa, tables, a few chairs, a widescreen TV, and a desk. The living room led to a short hallway with closets on the left and a marble bathroom with a heated floor on the right. The hallway ended at our bedroom outfitted with a king-size bed and a few tables. With the addition of a cot for our daughter who joined us for a night, the suite accommodated our family of four, it felt cozy but elegant.

The infinity pool at Belmond El Encanto is the perfect place to relax.

Belmond El Encanto infinity pool overlooks Santa Barbara, California.

We unpacked and donned light-weight jackets and strolled down the hill to the El Encanto restaurant for lunch. We dined outside on crisp Caesar salad hearts topped with moist Scottish salmon while overlooking Santa Barbara. We lingered sipping wine from their extensive wine list while absorbing the panorama. The scenery and food enticed us to return to explore their other menus.

Belmond El Encanto Restaurant

View of Santa Barbara, California and the Pacific Ocean is spectacular from the Belmond El Encanto Restaurant.


Belmond El Encanto’s ambiance left a lasting impression on me, and I hope to return. As we headed to the airport, we felt restored and refreshed. I suspect that was their plan.


The fountain in the courtyard at The Setai

Tranquility at The Setai resort in Miami Beach

Roses and an orange in the lobby at The Setai

Roses and an orange in the lobby at The Setai )photo by dorothyadele)

The Setai hotel in South Beach Miami, Fla., is rated one of the top luxury hotels in the area. The art deco design, peaceful ambiance, and outstanding customer service places The Setai in a unique category.

Upon entry, the hotel’s atmosphere transports visitors to a tranquil resort. Oranges are displayed in clear glass globes on wooden tables in the courtyard and along the walkways to remind visitors that they are in South Florida and not just in an Asian retreat.

As we entered The Setai, the front desk agent greeted us and gave us cold lemongrass iced tea and warm moist hand towels to freshen us while we waited to check in. The dimly lit hotel and lobby made me feel like I had entered a spa.

As we exited the elevator and walked toward our room instrumental music drifted through the hall. We entered our softly lit suite and heard music that had previously been turned on.

A suite at The Setai in Miami Beach,Fla.

A suite at The Setai in Miami Beach, Fla spells luxury. (photo by dorothyadele)

Dark cherry colored wood floors, cream-colored walls, and sleek brown rectangular tables and lamps create a peaceful art deco design in our room. A comfortable king size bed is set against the far wall beyond a brown square table with two chairs. The hotel management is serious about relaxation, and it was the first hotel room that I have visited that didn’t have an obvious clock.

Room amenities include a large bathroom with double-above -the-counter sinks and a large shower. The overhead rain shower and the wall system stream water from two directions.

Guests may brew tea, espresso, regular and decaf coffee with the shiny black and stainless Illy coffee maker in the room. The coffee maker includes a steam wand for milk frothing. The Setai also offers a beach bag and umbrella for guests to use while visiting.

The hotel has three large pools set at different temperatures. Large comfortable lounge chairs are near the pools and on the beach. Between the pools and the beach is an outdoor bar and restaurant. The food is excellent.

I have never visited a hotel comparable to The Setai. The Setai’s soothing atmosphere, muted decor, and superb customer service offer the traveler a unique experience.

The Setai lounge near the pools

The Setai lounge near the pools (photo by dorothyadele)